The Kalix Recycling Center opened in June 1994 to offer Minot and area residents an opportunity to have a positive impact on the environment by recycling various commodities. For the last 25 years, residents of northwest North Dakota have utilized the Kalix program to recycle more than 153,000,000 pounds of materials including cardboard, paper, newspaper, magazines, aluminum cans, tin cans, and plastic bottles. Recycling saves raw materials, landfill space, and energy (it takes less energy to manufacture items from recycled materials than from virgin materials).
The Kalix Recycling Center is celebrating 25 years of business from July 9th through August 13th. The anniversary event includes daily door prizes to the 25th customer through the door and a social media campaign to increase recycling awareness, including a video produced by and featuring Kalix employees and friends.
Kalix is a private non-profit that exists to serve adults with developmental disabilities. The Recycling Center contributes to the mission of “Privacy, Purpose, and Dignity for all People” by offering employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The Redemption Center, Warehouse, Confidential Document Destruction (shredding), e-Waste, and Fluorescent Bulb Recycling Services offers employees experience with learning and performing a variety of work tasks, and opportunities to develop customer service and other work skills.
“We appreciate the support from Minot residents over the last twenty-five years. It is only through your partnership that we have been able to successfully divert materials from the landfill and contribute to a cleaner environment. We hope to see continued participation and support for recycling to maximize our impact as responsible citizens. We look forward to the day when curbside recycling will make it easier for everybody to participate, but until then, we encourage people to bring their recyclable materials to our location at 605 27th St SE – next to the state fairgrounds in Minot,” commented Borgi Beeler, President/CEO of Kalix. The Kalix Recycling Center is open Tuesday through Friday from 11am to 5:30 pm and Saturdays from 11am to 4pm. See https://www.kalixnd.org/recycling/ for more information.
A little history:
- Kalix purchased the facility at 605 27th St SE on February 14, 1994. After some remodeling, we moved into the building in June 1994. The Recycling Center opened to the public on June 1st.
- The Recycling Center originally operated as a Python’s franchise, and tokens bore the Python’s logo. Python’s provided the business model and technical expertise, assisted with the purchase of equipment, and marketed the recyclable commodities. Low volume commodities (plastics, milk cartons, etc.) were shipped to a Python’s location in mixed loads.
- MarketPlace Foods and a local oil company signed up as the original token sponsors. Sponsors accept tokens just like cash from customers. Sponsors pay a monthly fee to participate, and Kalix buys back tokens every month.
- The process then was basically the same as it is today: customers drive in to the building with sorted recyclables. Kalix employees unload cars, weigh the products, hand out tokens, and deposit the recyclables into Gaylord boxes (4x4x4 foot boxes sitting on pallets). After enough boxes are accumulated to make a bale (which could be less than two boxes for newspapers or 10 boxes for aluminum cans), the recyclables are dumped into the baler to be crushed and pressed into a 1200-1800 pound bale. Once 44 bales of recyclables are collected, they can be sold and trucked to the buyer. Volumes vary – cardboard is the highest volume material with several loads shipped out every month. Some items may be collected for several months before there is enough to ship.
- Commodity prices were high in the early 90s, and business was booming for the first couple years. Then prices tanked, and Python’s discontinued it’s program in 1996. Kalix adjusted by cutting business hours and the list of accepted commodities, and developing a relationship with a broker to market the commodities. The hardest part of that change was eliminating plastics, milk cartons, and glass. We hated to see those items heading to the landfill, but it was necessary for our survival as a business.
- We learned about the industry – the importance of educating customers, the frustration of dealing with improper sorting, and the unpredictability of market prices.
- We added complementary services – Confidential Document Destruction, fluorescent bulbs, and e-Waste Recycling – to enhance employment opportunities and increase revenues.
- The flood of June 2011 interrupted business for over a month. We were able to ship most of the paper products before the flood water hit. After cleanup and repairing equipment, the recycling center re-opened at the beginning of August. It took until March of 2012 before the rest of the building was ready for occupancy!
- We decided to add plastics #1 PET (beverage bottles) and #2 HDPE (detergent and milk jugs) back into the lineup, and shipped our first load in 2013. Both items are low volume, but have a steady market with a good price.
- By 2014, the original baler was 20 years old and required more and more maintenance. We realized that it was at the end of it’s life, and began to look for solutions. With help from the MADC, we purchased a new baler in the fall of 2014.
- In recent years we have added more technology – a commercial software program to track commodities, enhanced scales, and video monitoring of the drive-thru entrance.
- The purpose is still the same: Partner with the community to recycle and be responsible environmental stewards.
If you haven’t visited the Recycling Center yet – now would be a good time! Save and rinse your beverage cans and bottles and bring them in, along with your newspapers, magazines, and cardboard boxes. See https://www.kalixnd.org/recycling/ for details regarding accepted recyclable materials.
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