A town asset open to all: Richmond’s recycling center
Each town in Wisconsin is required by state law to provide a recycling program for its residents. The Town of Richmond goes above and beyond that requirement. Not only does it provide an extensive program for its residents, but the recycling center is open to people who don’t live in the town as well.
Town Board Supervisor Dick Berquist said the recycling center had a modest beginning back in the 1980s when private dumps and landfills were outlawed. The center began as a used motor oil drop-off site for town residents. Slowly, it started taking different recyclables, such as glass and plastics.
According to Berquist and Town Chair Gary Knutson, more changes came in 2009. A new five-person board was elected. Together, that board decided to take the recycling program to the next level.
“That board was looking at everything we had been doing and looking to make improvements,” Berquist said.
The board sold the old snowplow trucks that had been housed in the sheds next to the Town Hall in Boardman. The refuse dumpsters that had been outside were moved inside. The town saved some money by not having to heat the sheds for the snowplows.
The town added containers to collect scrap iron, metals, furniture, construction materials, along with the containers for glass, paper, cardboard and plastics.
Justin Doriott was hired as the recycling center manager a few years ago and has done a lot of work to make the program a success, Knutson said.
Along with the expansion of the recycling program, the Town Hall was remodeled and brought up to date with new windows, a new furnace, insulation and exterior work. Doriott hand painted the white lines between the bricks of the Town Hall.
“We want people to know it’s a service open to the general public, not just town residents,” Berquist said. “We’re open for business outside the town. Many towns don’t offer all the services we do.”
The recycling program does not pay for itself, however, so the town must charge people for the services.
While grants from the state have provided operating funds for many years, they don’t cover everything and recently have been reduced, according to the St. Croix County Recycling Newsletter.
“As grants have been drying up with budget cuts, we have tried to take control by doing pricing and cost analyses, by becoming more involved,” Berquist said. “We want to make very clear that we are not charging money for these services to make a profit. We want to provide a service, but we need to operate in the black, too.”
Doriott said town residents pay the same as non-town residents for these services. However, town residents are not subsidizing what’s coming in for non-town residents.
“To stay ahead, sometimes we have to adjust prices,” Doriott said. “Everyone pays their own fair share. We aren’t out to make a ton of money, just to cover expenses and keep the program going.”
Some costs associated with the recycling program include Doriott’s salary and the costs of companies hauling the refuse and recyclables away.
The operating budget for the recycling center is roughly $40,000 a year, Knutson said. Part of this is covered by a grant received through the county from the DNR.
The town has contracts with RockTenn for paper products, Universal Recycling Technologies for electronics and Stephens Sanitation of New Richmond, to name a few.
Doriott hopes to expand even more in the future by adding a 1,700-pound three-stage compost station to cut down on the cost of biodegradables. He’s also considering the collection of fluorescents and hazardous waste.
What can you bring to the recycling center?
- One Car Load of Recyclables is $2
- Metal cans, aluminum cans in separate container, glass bottles and jars, plastics 1 and 2. All recycling with paper off, rinsed and drained dry.
- Newspaper and cardboard
- All garbage is 15 cents per pound
- Appliances - $15 each (If TV has exterior damage, $30), televisions, refrigerators, stoves, dryers, washers, microwaves, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, hot water heaters
- Construction material: shingles, sheetrock, carpet, green-treated wood decking, siding. Construction Prices - $1.61 per cubic ft. to be determined by recycling attendants
- Furniture: recliners - $16, loveseats - $23, couches - $36, hide-a-beds - $46, mattresses and box springs - $15-$36
- Computer towers - $10, computer screens - $15
- Electronics - $5 each; radios, toasters, DVD players, etc
- Antifreeze, car batteries and motor oil - Free
- All metals are free, except for lawn mowers.
- Constructions loads: length by height equals cubic feets: at $1.61 per cubic foot.
- Each year a tire roundup and appliance roundup is held. These usually take place in June and September.
Items the recycling center does not take include paint, fluorescent light bulbs, chemicals, containers that held hazardous materials, concrete, asphalt, wood pellets, non-treated wood, railroad ties and tree parts.
The recycling center is open 9 a.m to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and on Thursday evenings starting in the spring. For questions, contact Doriott at 715-338-2943 or visit townofrichmond.com/recycling-center.