Rural Michigan county gets some help rolling out carts

Posted on December 27th, 2016

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

December 1, 2015

Emmet County, Mich. appears well on its way to providing carts to residents after receiving a grant from the state and an offer from The Recycling Partnership.

Emmet County Recycling (ECR), which services 7,600 curbside households in rural northern Michigan, has announced it has been awarded an $82,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and, as long as it can do some fundraising of its own, another $82,000 grant from industry nonprofit group The Recycling Partnership.

ECR is the county-run recycling division of the Emmet Department of Public Works. It has been active since 1990.

With a goal of providing all of its customers with carts by the end of 2016, ECR will use the MDEQ award to purchase 1,400 carts. In order to receive The Recycling Partnership grant, ECR has been tasked with coming up with enough funds to provide carts to the remainder of the county as well as the purchase of a new truck.

In a press release this week, county officials stated they were “now busy reaching out to additional sources of funding,” with its parent department already proposing $50,000 in budgetary spending for the project in

Recycling carts receive warm welcome two months after roll out

Posted on December 27th, 2016

Only 2 percent turn carts away, according to recycling program

Aug 17, 2016

Courtesy photo Barbara Martin (right) and sons Steven (left) and Andrew Wallace of Little Traverse Township streamlined their home recycling system with their new cart.

Emmet County Recyclings new household paper recycling carts have been welcomed with open arms by residents of the five curbside recycling service communities. Over 7,000 of the black carts with bright green lids were distributed in late June 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 used to 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, Martin said. Now the cart and curbside mixed containers totes sit outside the kitchen door and are

Recyclers Report on Initial Cart Results

Posted on December 27th, 2016

8/30/2016 Harbor Light Newspaper

Now that the new black-and-bright-green curbside recycling carts have been in place a full month, Emmet County Recycling staff is offering an initial report on the project.

Residents’ response to the carts has been very positive. Both Denny Keiser, Supervisor of Bear Creek Township, and Bill Fraser, Mayor of Petoskey, said that many residents told them how happy they were to have the carts and neither had heard any complaints. Jayna Steffel of Emmet County Recycling was on the phone taking customer calls about the carts for three weeks solid as the carts were delivered. “People like the ease of rolling them out, the capacity to hold more cardboard, the lid to keep paper and cardboard contained and dry, and just the look of the carts,” Steffel reported. “I believe, ‘lovely,’ was the most common word used.”

The drivers servicing the carts and totes had a rough few transitional weeks. “After the first few days of the carts being delivered, we serviced the neighborhoods where the crews had already delivered carts. Many people hadn’t brought their new cart in yet, so I was making a lot of extra stops only to find an empty cart which

New Recycling Carts Popping Up Around Emmet County

Posted on December 27th, 2016

June 23, 2016

Petoskey News Review

Emmet County residents who receive curbside recycling services may come home to find a brand new cart in their driveway.

The Residents of Bear Creek Township, between Petoskey and Harbor Springs, were the first to receive the new household curbside recycling carts being distributed by Emmet County Recycling.

The 64-gallon rolling carts are for recycling paper, boxes and bags, while residents will continue to use their green totes to set out mixed metal, glass and plastic containers for recycling.

Funding for all 7,000 carts came through a number of grants and donations from 16 different entities, varying from local municipalities to companies to nonprofit groups. The carts were purchased from Cascade Engineering for a total of $324,478.

Most residents of Harbor Springs and Petoskey, as well as those in Resort and Little Traverse townships are also scheduled to receive the carts between today and June 30.


Emmet County Recycling grows as model for others

Posted on December 27th, 2016

Matt Mikus (231) 439-9394 – mmikus@petoskeynews.com

Jun 6, 2016

The effort by the Emmet County Recycling program to provide 7,700 rolling carts to all curb-side customers is another qualification in a growing reputation for rural communities around the country.

The county recycling program received enough funding to cover the $324,478 through 15 different partnerships including local governments, community foundations and corporations.

But the unique approach of asking companies to pay for the project is grabbing the attention from federal nonprofits like The Recycling Partnership. Especially since every entity the county approached for help agreed to provide some funding.

“Reaching out to community members and businesses that care about the environment or need the feedstock, or care about the environment and trying to be good corporate citizens, reaching out to those folks is a model that other communities around the country can clearly follow all over the country. Emmet County is a great example of hitting the streets, trying to get these carts funded. Because it’s not easy to do it just with public dollars,” said Cody Marshall of The Recycling Partnership, a firm based in Washington D.C.

Marshall said recycling in rural communities is often more challenging than in cities

Commissioners to give $20k to DPW to secure $57k grant

Posted on December 22nd, 2016

Grant helps recycling program provide new rolling recycling bins for curbside pickup

Matt Mikus (231) 439-9394 – mmikus@petoskeynews.com

Jan 15, 2016

The Emmet County Commissioners approved a donation to the Department of Public Works recycling program for $20,000 to help raise money for new recycling bins for curbside pickup. The department will provide the bins, which can hold up to 64 gallons of recycling materials, and include a lid and wheels.

The total costs for the new recycling bins is estimated at 320,000, and will serve 7,200 households.

Elisa Seltzer, director of the Department of Public Work, said the project has been successful at raising funds for the program. The townships and cities served with curbside pickup have all chipped in to the project, and the recycling department has also received grant funds from the state and other organizations.

 The Frey Foundation offered to provide a $54,000 grant to the recycling department, but on the condition that the county also chip in to fund the new recycling bins. Petoskey Plastics also offered to provide $10,000 with a similar requirement.

 “Typically the DPW stands alone. But for a project like this, it benefits a very large center of the county. I

Collaborative Partnership Drives Recycling Investment

Posted on December 21st, 2016

FALLS CHURCH, VA April 26, 2016 

The Recycling Partnership would provide seed money for the purchase of 7,000 residential recycling carts if Emmet County, Michigan, could raise enough funds to cover the balance of the cost. The County started contacting local companies, received a grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and in short order had lined up funding from 16 sources. Together they met the challenge, The Partnership remained true to its word, and cart distribution is slated for summer 2016.

“According to The Recycling Partnership, we’re the only one to fund our carts this way,” said Elisa Seltzer, Director of the County’s Public Works Department. “We were going to just expand to a few our curbside communities first, but they said they’d give us the money if we can hand them out to everyone.”

The grant dollars will assist Emmet County with purchasing new recycling carts for the communities of Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bear Creek Township, Little Traverse Township, and Resort Township. Additionally, the County will receive assistance with a customized public education campaign, and with technical planning to support the cart deliveries to its 7,000 households. The participating communities will maintain their dual stream recycling system

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

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