By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Limited profit in recycling business


Recycling has changed in Carlton County.

The change was noted by county residents in March when it was learned Riverside Recycling in Cloquet was closed permanently.

Riverside Recycling is a private business, owned by Cloquet Sanitation.

According to information in the Pine Journal, the newspaper based out of Cloquet, one owner of Cloquet Sanitation, Randy Crestik, said it was a combination of factors that led to the decision. He spoke of the fact the business was not profitable and the requirement to install expensive software to report the purchases of any metals, such as copper, to the Cloquet Police Department.

However, Carlton County and some private sanitation companies within the county are still collecting recyclables, although they might have to start charging for the service, one local hauler said.

“The haulers in Carlton County are not required to collect recycling,” said Heather Cunningham of Carlton County Zoning and Environmental Services, in a recent telephone interview. “But if they do, it is on their own. There is mandatory curbside recycling in Moose Lake and Cloquet.”

The lower price of petroleum is one reason the recycling market has changed.

“The recycling market is in poor condition,” she said. “The price of petroleum is down. It is easier to use petroleum to make new plastic instead of using recycled plastic.”

The closing of Riverside Recycling has affected the county’s recycling services.

“We’ve seen an increase in use at the county’s transfer station, and we are looking at adjustments,” said Cunningham. “I think that we’ve got it figured out what we need to do.”

The transfer station, located on Highway 210, three-fourths mile west of Interstate 35, collects a wide variety of recyclable materials and hazardous materials, as well as solid waste. Residents can also bring their recyclables to recycling sheds located in communities throughout the county.

County-owned staffed recycling sheds are located in Moose Lake, Barnum, Carlton and Esko. The staffed sheds take magazines, as well as glass, plastics, aluminum cans, tin and metal cans, newspapers, magazines, office paper and cardboard and box board.

Unstaffed sheds are located in Kettle River, Cromwell, Wright, Blackhoof, Holyoke and Mahtowa. Magazines, office paper and cardboard are not collected at unstaffed sheds.

Brochures about solid waste and recycling services and hazardous waste collection in Carlton County are available on the Carlton County Zoning and Environmental Services website, under

Another service formerly used by residents in the Moose Lake area was offered by Moose Tracks, a sheltered workshop for people with disabilities. The people shredded newspaper to be delivered to farmers in the area and to other places where the paper was used.

That service is no longer available.

“We used to have six shredders,” said Mark Carlson, a supervisor for Moose Tracks. “They would break down. Once the last two shredders stopped working, we changed the focus of our program. It wasn’t cost effective to replace the shredders, and more and more people are turning to the Internet for their news, resulting is less newspapers brought in.”

Carlson said the focus now is to integrate the people in jobs in the community, such as working in grocery stores, at Black Bear Casino and at the food court in the mall.

For more information about recycling in Carlton County, call (218) 384-9178.


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