Washington County commissioners approved a plan Tuesday to double the hours at the county’s recycling center in Woodbury. In so doing, they hope to attract more than 11,000 additional visits per year.
Jeff Travis, a county environmental program manager, told commissioners that resident participation has more than doubled since 2007, adding, “We’ve reached our limit.”
The recycling center will be open 31 hours per week beginning Nov. 3. That is the first increase in hours since 2001 and will add 14 hours per week to the center’s operation.
In 2014, the center logged 37,323 visitors. A traffic study showed people visited the center even when it was closed, and in other instances, tried to take their recycling materials to a private composting business down the road.
On Saturdays, 70 to 80 cars per hour make drop-offs at the center, Travis said.
“It’s about time we added these hours,” said Commissioner Ted Bearth of Oakdale, where the recycling center was located until the county opened the larger complex in south Woodbury in 2009.
Travis said collections grew substantially in 2008 when the county began accepting electronic waste — computers, televisions and other electronics — and again in 2011 when the county added plastic bags and holiday lights.
Expanded hours will cost $289,000 per year, but the expense will be paid through the budget without increasing the rate of the county’s environmental charge, Travis told commissioners.