Isabella County works with city, CMU to recycle
Isabella County continues to do its part in making the community more eco-friendly.
In 2011, 5,426 tons of material was recycled, an increase from 5,283 tons in 2010.
“Given the volume of material collected so far this year, we project total volumes to remain consistent with 2010 and 2011 rates,” Isabella County Recycling administrator Tim Dolehanty said via email.
Dolehanty said Isabella County and the City of Mount Pleasant operate the Material Recovery Facility under provisions of a joint operating agreement.
“Prior to 2008, operation of the MRF facility was delegated to Waste Management, Inc.,” he said. “As the recycling program expanded to include drop-off depots and a curbside collection program, it became clear that the county should exercise more direct oversight of the entire operation.”
In terms of revenue and expenditures, the recycling program has improved substantially in the past five years, with an exception from 2008, in which the recycled tonnage fell to almost 4,600 tons, Dolehanty said.
“This was the transition year when the county assumed operational responsibilities,” he said. “Agreements between the county and Waste Management for recyclables delivered to the MRF were not finalized when the operational change occurred.”
Dolehanty said records are kept of recycling households and individuals who bring recyclables to MRF. The Bureau of the Census estimates somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 residents participate in recycling in the county, amounting to 16 to 20 percent of the total county population.
The MRF staff sends out information fliers about the benefits of recycling, and public announcements are also issued from time to time.
MRF Facility Manager Steve Moeggenborg said they make good use of the recycled materials they pick up, which can be anything from glass to plastic to cardboard.
“What we do, we sell materials to different markets and ship them to the markets,” Moeggenborg said.
Dolehanty said they reconstructed the recycling operation in 2010 because of concerns about continued economic viability.
“As a result, revenue from the sale of recyclable offset 72 percent of total expenditures in 2012 and 85 percent of expenses in 2011,” he said.
Moeggenborg said it’s up to each township to ensure that people have recycling bins and public containers are available in the community.
It’s not something MRF is responsible for, he said.
Bad Axe graduate student and student recycling coordinator Laura Baslock said there are recycling bins in all the residence and academic halls, as well as giant blue containers outside a number of buildings on campus.
She said these containers are emptied daily and the waste is brought to MRF.
“Our offices are making recycling a bit easier to do,” Baslock said. “We have Twitter and Facebook, and I think the social media helps connect with the students.”
Even though only nine students are working at Recycling at CMU, Baslock said she thinks the student community does well in recycling.
“I think that students are becoming a lot better,” she said. “They are recycling more.”
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