ST. CLOUD -  When you take out your garbage and recycling you probably don’t think twice about what happens to it, but a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes to dispose the garbage and recycling for St. Cloud.

The St. Cloud Public Works Sanitation Division is in charge of collecting garbage and recycling for the city. The Department serves just under 16,000 homes in St. Cloud. In 2012 they collected over 7,500 tons of garbage and over 3,000 tons of recycling.

Since 1991 St. Cloud has used a volume-based garbage collection system. Under this system, charges are based on the volume of garbage put out for collection.

Since this system was put into place, landfill deposits have been cut in half.

Dan Legatt is the Maintenance Supervisor for Public Works, he says the department is all about serving the community.

"It's almost like being a firefighter or a police officer-you're doing it for the community," Legatt says.

Garbage and recycling trucks collect from different areas in the city, depending on the route assigned for that day of the week.

An interesting recent development for the department are collection trucks that use automated robotic arms to pick up the trash and recycling from the street.

The garbage is taken to Waste Management, which is also the largest collector of recycling in the state. Trash is incinerated at the plant and larger items are taken to a landfill in Elk River.

Recycling is separately taken to a different plant in east St. Cloud owned by Republic Services. Items are dropped off and stored to be transported for sorting in the Twin Cities.

The sanitation division's goal is to provide these collection services for the city, while also promoting waste reduction practices to improve the environment. From start to finish, a lot of pride and hard work goes in to safely and efficiently disposing the garbage and recycling in St. Cloud.

"I always knew from a young age that I wanted to work for St. Cloud Public Works," Legatt says, "So it's like I'm living out my childhood dream."



Dan DeBaun, WJON News