Cooperative Marketing
Market Development
Materials Exchange
Southeastern Minnesota Recyclers Exchange
Working together to maximize recycling in southeast Minnesota

Joint Powers Board Members:

Blue Earth County
Dodge County   
Freeborn County
Mower County
Olmsted County
City of Red Wing
Rice County
Steele County
Waseca County


What began as a way for Counties in Southeastern Minnesota to make recycling work in a rural area has evolved into a viable organization that helps Counties, Cities and private businesses get the most for their recyclable materials. Through cooperative marketing of recyclable materials and sharing educational resources and experience, the Southeastern Minnesota Recyclers Exchange has remained strong through the ups and downs of recycling for over 20 years.

Plastic Facts

Sources: BBC, National Geographic, Scientific American, Slate, The Royal Society, Keep America Beautiful and US EPA

Five Things That Should Never Appear In Your Recycling Bin

Recycling everything you can is a very good idea. But to make recycling work, all the things that contaminate recycling need to be left out, or all your work recycling could be lost. These five things should never be placed in your recycling bin:

  1. Plastic bags and other film plastic If you must use plastic bags (there are better alternatives) be sure to take them back to the store where you got it to be recycled. Residential recycling is often sorted mechanically, and the film plastic wraps around that equipment, causing a complete stop to untangle it. If you need to contain recyclables in your bin, use a paper bag.
  2. Christmas lights and extension cords These materials may contain valuable metal, but they are not recyclable with your residential recycling.
  3. Garden hoses These items are not made of anything that can be recycled.
  4. Window glass, drinking glasses, ceramics, mirror glass, auto glass or baking dishes (Pyrex) Only glass bottles and jars from food and beverages are recycled. Ball, Kerr and other canning jars are made to withstand extreme heat, and are not recyclable in your household bin.
  5. Plastic tarps Tarps contain reinforcements that make them unrecyclable.

You Can Get Something for Nothing…

Are you looking for materials for your business, school or non-profit? Do you have usable items that you want to get rid without putting it in the garbage? Things like office furniture and equipment, packing material, pallets, a kitchen sink…you name it, it can possibly be found at Minnesota Materials Exchange. You can post wanted items or available items. You can give or get things for free, or for a percentage of the cost of new.

Using up excess supplies, repurposing or reusing items that someone does not have a use for helps the environment, saves natural resources, eliminates waste and saves money.

Check out the Minnesota Materials Exchange at - you may find something you have been looking for!

Recycling Facts

Trees in forest

Here are some interesting recycling facts you've always wanted to know: