City of Alexandria offers free Metal Pick Up Day

Residents who live within the city limits of Alexandria can get rid of the clutter in their yards, patios and basements by putting the metal objects on their boulevard and have them hauled away at no charge.

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City crews at a spring Alexandria Metal Pick Up Day a few years ago didn't let a little snow stop them from collecting discarded metal items from around town. This year's fall Metal Pick Up Day is set for Monday, Sept. 27. (Echo Press file photo)

It’s time for an annual rite of spring in Alexandria: Metal Pick Up Day.

This year’s event, a joint effort of the city and Alex Rubbish and Recycling, is set for Tuesday, April 27.

Residents who live within the city limits can get rid of the clutter in their yards, patios and basements by putting the metal objects on their boulevard and have them hauled away at no charge. Note: TVs and computer monitors will not be accepted.

Residents must fill out an agreement form – printed in the newspaper on April 16, 21 and 23 – and in the Lakeland Shopping Guide on April 18 and 25.

The form may be mailed or delivered to Alexandria City Hall, 704 Broadway. Forms will not be accepted after 4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 26.


Telephone requests for this service will not be accepted. Only residential customers within the Alexandria city limits are eligible, not commercial customers.

The city has been offering the service for at least 20 years as an incentive to help residents clean up their property in the spring.

The city’s two public works directors who lead the annual effort, Bill Thoennes with parks and Dane Bosl with the street department, answered some questions about Metal Pick Up Day:

How many years has the city been offering this service?

“From what we have found, it goes back at least to the year 2000,” Thoennes said. “That is when we started requiring forms to be filled out and submitted.”

What are the most common items hauled away?

“Appliances, bikes, lawnmowers, grills, water heaters,” Thoennes said.

What are some of the strangest items your crews have picked up?


“I would say a half of a car and a fish house were the strangest,” Bosl said.

How much junk, on average, does the city haul away each year?

“The city offers this service on the last Tuesday in April for a spring clean of things that accumulate over the winter and the last Tuesday in September for things that accumulate during the summer months,” Thoennes said. “On average, there are about 300 forms turned in for each the spring and the fall cleanups.”

Is the amount of items going up or trending down?

“Initially, we only offered it once a year, then several years ago, we started offering it twice a year and there was about the same amount in the spring and fall,” Thoennes said.

Where do the items end up?

“We will get a few ‘metal scavengers’ that will go up and down the street picking stuff before we get there,” Thoennes said. “But they do not hit every street in town. Not much we can do about them picking up the items from the curb before we get there. If residents don’t want the scrappers to take it, we suggest putting out the items in the morning of the clean up.

“We have a partnership with Alex Rubbish and Recycling and Jacks Recycling, both of Alexandria,” Thoennes added. “There are things that they need to do with refrigerators, freezers and AC units. They need to recover the freon that is in these units before they can be scrapped out. They then sell the metal. It is a win-win for the residents, city and the recycling centers.”


Do you have any other insights about Metal Pick Up Day that residents might not know?

“We will not take furniture like couches, recliners, box springs/mattresses, toilets. If a magnet will not stick to the majority of items – we will leave it where you put it,” Thoennes said. “We will not go into residents’ back yards to pick up items.

“We will take anything metal,” he added. “If you can get it the curb – we will take it. The city does not get paid from the disposal sites. This is a free service we offer to assist residence in the city limits only.”

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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