Recycling Program: What’s New?

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Beth Gohs

Staff Writer

What’s new in Charlevoix County’s recycling program?

Charlevoix County Building Maintenance Supervisor Frank Shaler recently gave an update on the program and its new offerings.

“We are doing really good this year,” he said. “You can see that our numbers are up from recycling—we held 148 tons of material last month, a year ago we held 116 tons of material.

Boyne City currently has a 24-hour recycling program that citizens pay .15 mills, equal to about $20 a year per household, to be able to recycle hazardous household wastes, among a multitude of other items.

Recycling sites are stationed throughout Charlevoix County, including: Melrose township, Boyne Falls schools, Boyne City schools and are trying a 24-hour trial at East Jordan schools. Shaler said they will also begin doing pick-ups of electronics.

“People are really liking the recycling program where they put everything into one,” Shaler said of the county’s 13-year-old recycling program. “We’re taking Styrofoam, aerosol cans, propane tanks, the small propane tanks, we are taking momentarily.”

Shaler has taken people to see the drop-off area where the collective recycling ends up. He described the area as an organized giant machine that separates the recycling and prepares it for further shipping.

“They have emptied these 100-yard trailers that they take from Charlevoix and they have a walking deck on them so that the trailer tips itself. They don’t have to lift it up,” he said. “They empty it in a pile, it goes up a conveyor and it balances itself out, and the cardboard goes one way, the paper goes another way, the plastic bags are sucked up and it’s got a magnet for metal it pulls it one way.”

Shaler added, “It’s all made in the U.S. The only piece of machine that came from Austria is some piece of machine that reverses magnetic power for aluminum cans.”

The main collection facility has nearly 20 people working the line for quality control. And, they send out about eight to 10 semi truckloads of compressed material a week at different recyclers. The place where Charlevoix County’s waste is hauled to has nearly $12 million in the equipment they use.

Shaler also talked about a program they have put on for the fourth-grade students to teach them about recycling.

“What they do at the elementary school is, they have a program after school where they dump the milk cartons into a five-gallon pale and they’ll crush those milk cartons,” he said. “And they’ll take them over and dump them over in the recycle bin by the bus garage…. If you just think about how many milk cartons go through the Boyne City schools—that stuff is not going in the dump—basically what that is doing is saving taxpayers money. Because that stuff is being recycled, costing them less for trash, so it’s not going to landfills.”

The recycling program now takes Styrofoam, dog and cat food bags, latex paint among many other items you can find on their website at: charlevoixcounty.org/recycling.asp