Polk County Solid Waste Management

The Polk County Resource Recovery Facility (Incinerator) is located on the north side of the City of Fosston, in the Industrial Park.  The Incinerator accepts mixed municipal solid waste from the counties of Beltrami, Clearwater, Mahnomen, Norman and Polk.  Attached to the Incinerator is a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) that processes both objectionable and recyclable materials out of the waste stream prior to incineration.  Of the approximately 33,000 tons of waste received each year, about 8,000 tons are removed for reuse or recycling prior to disposal. 


The remaining 25,000 tons of processed waste is incinerated, and the resulting heat from the waste combustion is captured and converted to steam in waste heat boilers.  The steam generated from these boilers is sold to local businesses (Minnesota Dehydrated Vegetable, SunOpta and Specialty Products) to process food products or for heat in the winter – both uses decrease our customers demand for fossil fuel consumption in their operations.  Any excess steam produced when our customers are not operating is routed through a turbine generator to produce electricity.  The ash resulting from the combustion of the processed waste is hauled to the Polk County Landfill where it is screened and later used in the construction of County Roads.  With the exception of materials that are unsuitable to process, all waste that enters the facility to be processed is either reused, recycled or converted to energy.


In 2011, Polk County became the first MN Incinerator to receive approval from the MPCA to dispose of law enforcement collected waste pharmaceuticals and plant-form illegal seized drugs.  Since that time, the Incinerator has provided service to law enforcement agencies from all areas of Minnesota.  In 2011 and 2012 Polk County Incinerator served as northern Minnesota’s drug disposal site for the Drug Enforcement Agency’s statewide collection events. 

The County purchased the building and lot to the east of the Incinerator in the fall of 2011, and moved the Polk County Recycling Center across the street to this new location in 2012.  The new recycling site allows for the continued collection of both increasing types and volumes of materials.  In addition to the standard types of recyclable materials collected – cardboard, paper, tin cans, aluminum cans, plastic #1 & #2 and glass – several other types of recyclable materials have been added to the recycling program.   These other recyclable materials collected at the site from Polk County residents include: scrap metal, appliances, electronic waste, passenger vehicle tires, used oil/oil filters, fluorescent bulbs/ballasts and household hazardous waste.

Also in 2012, the County’s recycling program changed in a substantial way.  All recyclable processing that occurred in Crookston is now being provided in Fosston.  In addition, the standard recyclable items are now collected mixed together – referred to as single stream recycling.  This saves the resident or business from separating the recyclables themselves, and making recycling more convenient and cost effective.  Prior to 2012, each recyclable type of material had to be placed in a dedicated container for only that type of material.  Utilizing the MRF at the Incinerator, the incoming recyclables may be separated by material type more efficiently than was done previously.  Making this change has opened up new opportunities to provide this service to other communities in the future, making it a possible recycling hub for many additional communities in the region.






708 8th Street NW FosstonMN  56542