Emmet County recycling program could serve as national model

Posted on December 21st, 2016


CMU Public Radio 

July 7, 2016

If you’re living in Emmet County, you probably already know about the new wheeled carts. In fact, they’re probably already sitting in your garage or at the end of the driveway.

Emmet County Recycling has finished delivering over 7,200 rolling carts to residents, and hope that the new free carts will increase the materials recycled by the community. But how they pulled of the feat is starting to attract interest on both a state and national level.

These brown carts with wheels and green lid look similar to the standard garbage carts, but the purpose will help keep more recyclables from ending up in the waste stream.

“For some time now, we’ve known that the more capacity you have at the curb the more materials you will get. It makes sense, but you would think ‘Oh if they have too many recyclables to fit in their totes, they’ll wait till next week. But the studies show that when the totes are full the rest goes in the trash until the tote gets picked up and is empty again,” said Elisa Seltzer, the director of the Emmet County Recycling Program.

The carts were part

Casino Wins 2016 Recycler of the Year Award

Posted on December 15th, 2016

From ECR Press Release December 15, 2016


Emmet County’s 2016 Recycler of the Year Award winner began recycling long before they opened for business.  “During construction—begun in 2005—one of the requirements the Tribe had was that everything that was recyclable be recycled,” explained Barry Laughlin, Odawa Casino Resort’s Director of Property Operations.  Since opening in 2007, the Casino has been steadily growing their recycling, and shows no sign of stopping, earning them the county’s 2016 award.


Kate Mowbray, the Casino’s lead Wastewater Tech, is charged with heading up the recycling programs.  According to Mowbray, when the Casino began operations in 2007, they started by just recycling cardboard, but soon added paper and mixed containers (including plastic containers, steel and aluminum cans, foil, glass and paper cartons). In recent years, they have recycled around 56 tons of cardboard and 14 tons of paper and containers annually.


They also regularly recover roughly 1,200 pounds of scrap metal, 300 pounds of batteries, and 1,000 pallets a year, the later largely reused in Casino operations and by employees.  Electronics and ink cartridges are recycled too. Fluorescent bulbs were recycled, but are now being replaced with LED lighting to further improve energy

Household Recycling Carts Receive Warm Welcome

Posted on August 16th, 2016

Emmet County Recycling’s new household paper recycling carts have been welcomed with open arms—and open garage doors and gates–by residents of the five communities served by the program’s curbside recycling service.  In late June over 7,000 of the black carts with bright green lids were distributed to single family homes in Bear Creek, Little Traverse and Resort townships, Petoskey and Harbor Springs.


“I thought I saw a tear,” Barbara Martin of Little Traverse Township said, describing her sons’ reaction upon delivery of their cart.  The family had been hauling their recyclables to a nearby drop site, the job assigned to her sons, Steven and Andrew Wallace.  “We had five bins lined up in the basement,” explained Martin.  She would gather recyclables in the kitchen, then Steven had the job of sorting the materials into the basement totes.  “I have to admit, we’d let them get a bit more than full before hauling,” Barbara said.  Now the cart and curbside mixed containers totes sit in the breeze way outside the kitchen door and are simply wheeled to the curb.


“It’s great,” Steven agreed, “I still have work to do, but it’s less and I don’t have to leave the

Emmet County Department of Public Works
200 Division Street, G-76, Petoskey, MI 49770 • 231-348-0640

For additional information on Emmet County, please visit www.emmetcounty.org

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