Sioux Falls gives out more than 50,000 free passes to dump at landfill Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — About 55,000 free passes to use the Sioux Falls regional landfill were mailed late last week.

That free pass means an individual can bring a stove, tires, construction debris and other throw-away items to the landfill one time for free from April 1 through Sept. 4.

The free pass allows the holder to bring up to five tons or 10,000 pounds (total gross weight) to the landfill. The pass has some limits such as only four tires, or two mattresses.

“It helps keep the city clean,” landfill operations manager Don Kuper said of why the city would allow residents to dispose of items at no charge. “It’s perceived well. We get a lot of good compliments about it.”

Typically, it would cost a resident $18 to toss a load of old chairs, two mattresses and other items at the landfill.

Kuper said the city usually has a return rate of about 30% on the free passes.

“We can see up to 1,000 customers a day on a Saturday,” Kuper said.

The 2020 free pass period started later and ran from July to December because of the coronavirus pandemic. A total of 14,250 passes were redeemed at the landfill.

The number of redeemed passes has been above 14,000 since 2017. It was just under at 13,963 in 2016.

Kuper said the landfill does not track the weight of items disposed through a free pass since the total weight, including the vehicle, must be 10,000 pounds or less.

But if every one of the 14,000 passes had 5,000 pounds, or half the total gross weight of 10,000 pounds, in items, that would total 70,000,000 pounds.

Not all the items stay at the landfill for disposal.

City employees will remove freon and other material from refrigerators. Fridges are placed in a pile for a metal salvage and recycler who sells it on the recycled steel market, Kuper said.

Kuper said the program has existed since at least 2009.

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