The Ramsey/Washington Recycling and Energy Board (R&E Board) took a significant step towards improving the environment and achieving its vision to increase recycling, and get the most value out of trash. At the end of 2015, the board purchased the Recycling & Energy Center in Newport. Commissioners in both counties recognize the importance of viewing trash as a resource with value, and not a burden. Waste processing ensures that what remains in the trash after recycling and composting, is best managed to protect the environment. Waste produced by businesses and households in Ramsey and Washington counties is delivered to the Recycling & Energy Center. At the Center, trash is mechanically processed into a fuel that is used by Xcel Energy at power plants in Red Wing and Mankato to produce electricity. More than nine million tons of trash has been delivered to the Recycling & Energy Center since it opened in 1987, and each year enough electricity is produced to serve more than 22,000 homes.
By owning and operating the Recycling & Energy Center in Newport, the counties can:
Continue recovering energy from trash
Consider new technologies to increase energy produced, create fuels, make compost, or provide recyclable materials for manufacturing
Continue to ensure waste is managed to protect the environment and public health
Meet Minnesota’s new 75% recycling goal
Support local jobs
Work towards a more stable, predictable trash processing system to help control costs, saving taxpayers money