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South Dakota City's Maintenance Team's Impact on Recycling

Gary Hargens, Maintenance Manager for Destination Rapid City/Main Street Square in South Dakota, discusses his department's role in the city's downtown recycling program, which has saved 20-24 tons of trash a year since 2012.

Gary Hargens

Gary Hargens
Maintenance Manager
Destination Rapid City/Main Street Square, South Dakota

1. Describe the relationship Destination Rapid City has with the city.

Rapid City developed a business improvement district (BID). The goal of this was to revitalize downtown. In order to help accomplish revitalization efforts, a non-profit, Destination Rapid City (DRC), was formed. The maintenance employees of DRC would help with cleanup and maintenance of the 55-block BID.

2. What are the general responsibilities of the Destination Rapid City maintenance staff?

Picking up recyclables from 119 receptacles. Water and maintain over 150 planters. Maintain the cleanliness of the downtown area.

3. What was the maintenance department's role in the installation and placement of the recycling receptacles?

In 2012, 80 recycle receptacles were installed in a 55-block downtown area. DRC staff was responsible for the purchase, placement and maintaining these first 80 containers. There are now 119 recycle containers in the BID.

4. How has the addition of the receptacles impacted the daily work priorities of your staff?

The best time to empty the recycle containers is early morning between 6-8 a.m. This requires one staff person to start his/her day early in the morning. The containers are emptied three times a week and generally take three hours for 119 containers. We also must change the cans as they become damaged. Three-four times per year, all cans are brought to a central location for disinfecting and cleaning.

5. Describe the impact the recycling program has had on the city.

I believe that once the residents of Rapid City saw the downtown area recycling, residents have bought into the program and more and more are recycling at home to do their part to help out. The city is cleaner due to the fact that what once used to be just thrown on the ground is now being tossed into the proper containers. We estimate, and this is probably on the low end, that 20-24 tons of recycles just from the downtown area are now kept out of our city landfill thereby increasing the life of the landfill. DRC staff is very proud of this.

6. Are there any additional projects emphasizing recycling or sustainability projects planned that involve your staff?

As the city continues to grow and attract more tourists, DRC will continue to install more recycle containers where they are needed. I am sure there will be other projects in the future as we continue to grow and progress.

posted:  5/1/2015