Recycling up 104% at county recycling sites

Business cardboard contributing to numbers

 

MANISTEE COUNTY — Recycling at Manistee County’s five recycling and drop-off sites is up 104 percent from 2011 to 2012, a sharp rise that the recycling education coordinator attributes to business’ increasing use of the sites.

“I need to approach some of these businesses and say, ‘Would you make a contribution to the county recycling program?’” said coordinator Sarah Archer, pointing out that the county’s program is for residential, not commercial recycling, so participating businesses are really “getting a free ride.”

In all of 2012, the five sites collected 237.54 tons of commingled materials — metal, glass, and plastic — compared to 116.18 tons in 2011, according to records kept by Republic Services, the recycling company with which the county contracted.

The amount of paper collected by the sites, however, was down 17 percent from 2011 to 2012, from 2,142 cubic yards collected in 2011 to 1,776 cubic yards in 2012. But Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) added their own collection bins at two of the sites, contributing to the decrease.

Residents currently pay $13 per parcel for the program; businesses do not contribute. Seven of the 14 townships in Manistee County participate in the county recycling program. Many other townships have their own individual recycling programs.

“We picked $12 out of the air when we started the program and later we increased it to $13,” said Tom Kaminski, the county controller/administrator. “It really doesn’t pay for the program.”

Currently, the county subsidizes the program at a rate of about $20,000 a year, he said.

Public Act 69 allows a county board of commissioners to impose a surcharge on households within the county up to a maximum of $25 per household for the collection of recycled materials and household hazardous wastes.

According to Kaminski, the county doesn’t want to charge the full $25 rate because they are afraid of municipalities dropping out of the program.

At the moment, Archer is overseeing a transition to a contract with Area 31, a small recycling company based in Scottville. For the past three years, the county had contracted with Republic Services.

At the Thursday meeting of the county’s recycling committee, Archer reported that Area 31 services the sites weekly. “Area 31 is much more efficient (than Republic Services). We’re not having the overflow issues we were having before,” she said.

Area 31 does what Archer calls “single stream recycling,” meaning that paper products can be mixed with glass and cans in one container. Residents no longer have to sort.

According to Archer, Michigan has the lowest recycling rate of the Great Lakes states.

“We really doing a poor job as a state surrounded by natural resources,” said Archer.

 

Manistee County’s Recycling/Drop-Off Sites:

  •  Arcadia Township Hall
  • Betsie Valley School
  • Brown Township Hall
  • Maple Grove/Kaleva (Osmo and Walta St.)
  • Onekama Township Hall

Leave a Reply