County Board considers ‘recapture bags’

NEW ULM — Brown County commissioners will consider the purchase of “recapture” bags May 15 using SCORE recycling bunds from Blue Lakes Plastics to start an agricultural plastic recycling program.

Brown County Recycling has been in contact with livestock producers and other producers of agricultural plastic for a number of years in an attempt to start an agricultural recycling program.

Since the early 2000s, the use of plastic on farms has increased, especially with livestock producers who are using it to cover silage and round bails or to cover feed bunkers. The plastic use gives farmers better feed storage and saves time, but dealing with the used plastic has been a problem.

Statewide programs have attempted to start ag-plastic recycling programs, but have failed for one reason or another. One reason is on-farm plastic is difficult to recycle because it often has other debris (soil, feed and manure) mixed in with the plastic. Keeping it clean is nearly impossible.

Revolution Plastics began an ag-plastic recycling program in the southern United States. It has reached the Upper Midwest. The process has been successful because it not only recycles plastic but it is used in the firm’s own products.

The program uses “re-capture” bags that can hold up to 200 pounds each and can be loaded by hand of packed with a skid-steer. The bags cost $28 for a roll of 5, plus shipping. The company will pick up the bags at no charge if up to 120 bags are consolidated at one location.

Brown County Recycling will help find a location for the bag drop-off and loading of bags on a semi.

Brown County Recycling will ask commissioners to help start the program and propose buying two rolls of bags per farm that signs up. After a trial run, producers wold need to pay for the bags themselves if they want to stay in the program.

A bag hand-out day is planned in which demonstrations on how to load bags on the farm will be done.

Brown County Recycling proposed to buy 20 boxes of bags to start. Each box of bags (with two rolls per bag) costs $54, plus about $8 shipping. Twenty boxes plus shipping would cost about $1,240. The purchase would be funded with SCORE recycling funds.

Commissioners will also consider:

• Bridge replacement and approach work on County Road 20 over Judicial Ditch (JD) 10, one mile north of Hanska. A steel arch pipe needs replacement. The project has been hydraulically-sized to need a 10 foot by 7 foot pre-cast concrete box culvert. The project is scheduled to begin on or before July 30 and to be done within 30 working days. The highway department recommends accepting the low bid of $271,846, 15.2 percent under the estimate, from Midwest Contracting, LLC. Funding is regular construction funds.

• Timber bridge replacement and approach work on 250th Street over JD 30, Prairieville Township. The project has been hydraulically-sized to need a 16 foot by 12 foot pre-cast concrete box culvert. Funding comes from town bridge funds and $10,000 in local, Prairieville funds.

• A $3,500 proposal from Keystone Compensation Group, LLC, for compensation consulting services for a non-union salary range schedule.

• Planning Commission recommendations.

• John Bode’s petition in Linden Township to outlet into County Ditch (CD) 63. After limited discussion, a public hearing will be continued at 11 a.m. May 22 due to the need to re-mail notices to CD 63 landowners.

• Hearing a report from the solid waste officer Mike Ruetten of GEI, Inc., on the landfill re-permitting process that is being worked on with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to obtain a new permit.

A condition of the new permit is that the current spray field can be used to apply leachate only until Dec. 31, 2021. An MPCA review of the leachate application process will take place through the demonstration research project (DRP) due Dec. 31.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. May 15 in the courthouse commissioners’ room.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at