City shifts recycling options after closing free drop site

By Kayleigh Rahn
After years of resident and nonresident abuse, the city and Advanced Disposal are going in a new direction for citywide recycling.

Residents now have the option to sign up for curbside recycling service at the discounted rate of $3.50 per month, says City Administrator Drew Hoel. The discounted rate includes the separate recycling toter and bi-monthly pickup.

The new service became active after July 1 when the old drop-off sites were removed from public access.

The citywide disposal contract once called for two drop sites–near City Hall and in the IGA parking lot; however, abuse forced the IGA site to be removed nearly two years ago.

“We’ve still been having problems with this second one, and frankly it’s just a matter of abuse,” Hoel said. “I wish I could say the only problem we were having was people not understanding what is and isn’t recyclable. That isn’t the case. There are gross abuses of it. There are a number of people who just use it as their garbage service, so we find regular household garbage in there. We have found everything from paint to televisions–things that are more difficult or costly to dispose of. We have found a lot of out-of-town garbage. It’s been a big problem. Not to mention on a weekly basis it is overflowing. It’s frustrating because you are trying to provide a free service and do something nice.

“In instances we have been able to discover who it was because of mail in the household trash, we have contacted people in an attempt to curb some of these abuses. It’s a pain; we are spending too much time dealing with a free service we are trying to provide, and it was getting to a point that it just wasn’t sustainable for Advanced Disposal. I give them a lot of credit for providing an alternative.”

Advanced Disposal reached the breaking point with the former system after years of paying to clean the contaminants out of the recycled products.

“It costs them money to get rid of that,” Hoel said. “The TVs and paint and tires and car batteries–they have to pay to get rid of that stuff, but they also have to pay someone to sort garbage before they can send it on to the recycling center.”

The full story can be found in the July 5, 2017, edition of The Tuscola Journal.