RRRSWA Recycling Contract

Below was a letter published on June 10, 2024 by Redwood/Renville Regional Solid Waste Authority in response to Don at West Central Sanitation regarding recycling concerns. The following determination was given:

RRSWA Letter
RRSWA Letter to West Central Sanitation


We are reaching out to you regarding your email to Board Chair Kramer raising questions related to the RRSWA and West Central recycling contract. Board Chair Kramer shared your emails with me and we have consulted our attorney. We reviewed the contract and applicable legal authority. On behalf of RRRSWA and its board, below is our analysis of the contractual rights and obligations between RRRSWA and West Central, as well as our understanding of the asserted issues in general.

Contract with West Central

You have questions about non-contracted haulers infringing on your contracted customers. As you know, West Central has contracted with RRRSWA to collect recyclable materials from residential and commercial customers in exchange for payment from RRRSWA. Section 3. D of the contract provides:

  • Contractor shall collect all recyclable materials from any and all commercial and industrial customers (hereinafter referred to as "business customers") in the Counties that request such service.

This provides West Central the contractual right to collect recycling from any and all commercial and industrial customers that request that service. RRRSWA cannot force business customers to request the service. What RRRSWA can and has done is that whenever a business customers contacts RRRSWA to inquire about recycling, it tells the customer to reach out to West Central. RRRSWA does not have an ability to force a business customer to contract with West Central to do commercial recycling or to force them to request service. If business customers do not request the service and elect to dispose of their recycling materials in another way, there is nothing that RRRSWA can do to prevent it under those circumstances.

To your question about non-contracted haulers "infringing upon our contracted recycling haulers," we have analyzed this issue and RRRSWA's to taken action against any other collector. Under state law, local rules, and the Contract with West Central, RRRSWA does not have any strong legaul authority to take action. In our opinion, the most applicable legal remedy is tortious interference with contract, which is recognized cause of action in Minnesota. However, in order to bring that type of claim, a party must have suffered damages. However, here, RRRSWA is not the party that has been damaged by any non-contracted collector. For example, when a customer does not enter into a contract with West Central, there is arguably a monetary damage to West Central but not to RRRSWA. Accordingly, RRRSWA does not have legal authority to bring a claim. See, e.g., Sysdyne Corp v. Rousslang, 860 N.W.2d 347,351 (Minn. 2015) (discussing a cause of action for tortious interference with contract has five elements: (1) the existence of a contract; (2) the alleged wrongdoer's knowledge of the contract; (3) intentional procurement of its breach; (4) without justification; and (5) damages)."


You also raised questions about licensing. Minnesota Statutes Section 115A.93, subdivision 1(b) provides that "[a] person may not collect recyclable materials for hire unless registered with the [Pollution Control Agency]" and does not require registration for recyclable materials if the person or entity is licensed to collect mixed municipal solid waste with the Agency. Subdivision 2 allows cities and towns to issue licenses for collection of mixed municipal solid waste, and also provides county boards the authority to adopt the licensing authority by resolution.

For example, Redwood County's Solid Waste Management Ordinance authorizes the County Board to conditionally revoke or suspend licenses for "non-compliance with the provisions of the license, this chapter or applicable state laws and rules" or upon notification that continued use of the licensed operation may endanger the health, welfare and safety of the public or cause pollution or impairment to the environment. RRRSWA has authority for general administration and enforcement under Redwood County's Solid Waste Ordinance in conjunction with the County Board. RRRSWA does not have unilateral authority, as its responsibilities are tied to the County Board.

For RRRSWA or the County Board to take action against a hauler's license, there must be non-compliance with the license, the solid waste ordinance, or other state laws of rules. Interfering with contractual relationship is not expressly stated as a basis for suspension or revocation of a hauling license, and we do not see any other violation or non-compliance that would warrant that action.


In sum, RRRSWA has analyzed its options under the statutory, local and contractual framework, and has concluded that it does not have the ability to unilaterally take action against other collectors under the circumstances. Ultimately, whether West Central has a private cause of action against a different collector is a decision that West Central will need to determine on its own.

If you have any questions or want to discuss this further, please let me know.

Jon Mitchell
Executive Director, Redwood-Renville Regional Solid Waste Authority"

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