MINOT — The Minot City Council had a lengthy discussion on Monday about the possibility of a local recycling center in Minot.
Assistant Director of Public Works Jason Sorenson said, “We’ve been in discussions and talks with Closed Loop Partners for the last couple months and talking through some different opportunities.”
Closed Loop is a New York based investment firm that provides equity and project finance to scale products, services, and infrastructure at the forefront of the development of the circular economy.
Bob Anderson, Closed Loop Partners, explained, “We’ve been working on what we call Localized MRF Processing.”
MRF stands for Material Recovery Facility.
Anderson continued, “We’re moving away from a linear economy, which is make waste, to a circular economy, and using catalytic capital in order to do that.”
Closed Loop is investing in “cutting edge technologies” recycling items such as clothing, to go from fabric to fabric.
“We don’t believe that localized recycling is the only answer, but it’s a tool for some municipalities, versus large municipalities where you need a large regional facility,” Anderson explained.
Closed Loop also brings major companies, such as Starbucks and McDonald’s together, to deal with the use of disposable items like cups and bags.
Anderson claimed that the firm sees a $4.5 trillion opportunity by 2030 globally and that $2.6 trillion worth of goods is thrown out annually.
Closed Loop will eventually become more efficient in curbside pickup for clothing and electronics.
According to Anderson, “Right now about 85% of clothing goes to the landfill.”
If Closed Loop were to come to a town like Minot, Anderson explained, “We would be taking recyclable materials from Minot, bundling it up with all the other recyclables that we’re moving, and putting everybody on a level playing field, from a commodity value standpoint.”
The idea of keeping recycling local would involve Minot being able to run the recycling facility, unless it were to request Closed Loop to run it. “We’re not really selling equipment, as much as we’re selling a concept and a solution to empower the City of Minot to control their own destiny when it comes to recyclables,” Anderson said.
Stephen Klemann, Closed Loop Partners, explained the type of program that would be brought to Minot, called the Tailored Production Facility, which would be a curbside pickup.
“The system we could implement is very small in its structure. It can process 5,000 tons per year,” Klemann explained.
Klemann also described the precision of the system’s machine, “You could even put clothing through this and have it sort it into different compartments.”
Because of its size, Klemann compared the potential Minot facility to one that had been built in New Jersey that cost $3 million as opposed to a traditional recycling facility that could be closer to $10 million, as well as the elimination of miles.
“They eliminated over 1 million truck miles over the course of ten years, just by putting in their own facility,” said Klemann.
If the city goes through with plans to implement something of this sort by 2023, according to Klemann, Minot would be the first single stream processing in North Dakota, which would eliminate trucking miles, create jobs, maintain control of the facility if it so chooses, and the facility would be designed for expansion, if needed.
Klemann claimed that in unfavorable markets, this system would, at least, break even, and in favorable ones, there would be profit.
After Mayor Shaun Sipma mentioned the fact that many will be wondering about the increase or decrease in taxes, Anderson replied, “The answer that we’ve reached at this point is that it will be favorable to the taxpayer.”