Planet Money Recycling Episode Response

Posted on August 30th, 2019

Did you catch the episode of Plant Money that canned recycling? (No pun intended but, we can’t resist leaving it in.)  The Northeast Recycling Council posted this response which we wholeheartedly second.

Andi Shepherd Named Director of DPW

Posted on April 25th, 2019
Andi Shepherd, the new director of the Emmet County Department of Public Works

Andi Shepherd

HARBOR SPRINGS — Andi Shepherd, a longtime Emmet County employee and resident, will be taking over as the director of the Department of Public Works.

John Calabrese, Emmet County administrator, announced the promotion Wednesday in an email to county staff and commissioners, which he also forwarded to the News-Review. Shepherd has been working as interim director of the department since former director Elisa Seltzer resigned in January. Before then, Shepherd had worked for several years as assistant to the director.

“I already have a taste of what the job entails,” Shepherd said in an interview with the News-Review. “I’ve been with the department for four years and I know there’s a great team behind me.”

She said her goal is to continue the forward momentum that has consistently brought success — and attention — to the department in past years.

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ECR Director Moves On After Three Decades

Posted on January 17th, 2019
Elisa Seltzer in front of the Pleasantview Road Facility

Elisa Seltzer, Recycling Rock Star

From ECR’s January 17, 2019 Media Release

“We always recycle! We love what you do! Thank you for doing such a great job!” The staff of Emmet County Recycling (ECR) hears this kind of thing every day and much of that sentiment can be credited to Elisa Seltzer, longtime director of the county’s Department of Public Works (DPW).

Seltzer, who spearheaded the development of ECR into the locally-popular and nationally-prominent program it is today, is moving on after three decades. She leaves a legacy of solid programs and many new developments in the works.

Seltzer’s accomplishments serve every Emmet County resident and business nearly every day. Over 80 percent of county households recycle their paper, cardboard and containers. Garbage disposed in the county flows through the Solid Waste Transfer Station which she has overseen since 1990. Her accomplishments reach far beyond Emmet County though.

Emmet County Recycling’s program has had a profound impact on recycling throughout the “tip-of-the-mitt” region. The popularity and growth of the program provided leaders in neighboring counties with a thriving example of rural recycling. ECR’s materials recovery facility (MRF) processes and markets recyclables from Cheboygan, Otsego and Presque Isle counties under

Did Drop-site Vandal Have a Message?

Posted on December 28th, 2018

drop-site recycling bin with black dots painted on labelsRecycling program staff from Emmet County found extensive spray painting on a “mixed-containers” (bottles, jugs, jars, cups, trays, etc.) recycling bin located at the drop site behind Toski-Sands Plaza in Petoskey Monday morning. But, they report, the vandal may have been well-meaning, if misguided.

The paint specifically covered over small yellow decals with the message “no bags here.” The decals were placed on many mixed-containers bins this fall to address a problem with plastic bags being put in the mixed-containers bins. Plastic bags are recyclable but belong in the “papers-boxes-and-bags” bin or curbside rolling carts.

Emmet County Recycling (ECR) collects plastic bags with the paper and boxes because the factory that recycles the plastic bags—Trex, a manufacturer of composite decking—needs the bags to be dry. The mixed-containers come with enough residual liquids to contaminate the film-plastic bags.

The painter left no other marks on the bin, leading ECR communications coordinator Kate Melby to conclude that they vandal may have thought the yellow decals were inaccurate. “They may have been advocating for plastic-bag recycling. Many people think—intuitively—that plastic bags go with the other plastics: in the mixed containers with the plastic bottles, cups, tubs, and trays. Perhaps this individual thought

Superintendent Retiring After 38 Years

Posted on October 30th, 2018

Don Mapes is a man who likes to stay busy. Over his 38-year career at the Emmet County Department of Public Works, this has not been a problem—especially the 28 years he has been their Superintendent. Today is a case in point, before an 8:30 a.m. meeting to be interviewed for this article, he had already reshuffled employees to cover for a sick truck driver, travelled to Gaylord to pick up a truck from a repair garage, stopped at Burt Lake State Park on the way back to pick up a recycling drop-site bin, made a second run to Burt Lake State Park to finish picking up their bins for the season, resolved some payroll questions, and responded to the morning’s emails and phone calls.

Mapes started with the Department of Public Works (DPW) in July of 1980 as a Transfer Station Attendant and Driver. The County’s Pleasantview Road Drop-off Center, where the Solid Waste Transfer Station is located, is now a sprawling complex which receives, processes, and markets materials for recycling, as well as accepting garbage for transfer to a landfill south of Onaway. In 1980 it was a newly opened facility with just the Solid Waste Transfer Station.

Bad Bags Go Good

Posted on June 25th, 2018

Two of our staff, Andi Shepherd and Kate Melby, along with Alison Adams of the Charlevoix County Conservation District, participated in Real People Media’s Video Boot Camp. We made a little video about recycling plastic bags. Are you doing it right? Check it out! (And don’t feel bad if you were a little off; even the most avid recyclers are surprised by some of the details.)

The Grain Train Wins ECR’s 2018 Recycler of the Year Award

Posted on April 30th, 2018

From our April 30, 2018 media release on the Grain Train’s win.

Emmet Recyclers Honor Grain Train


Over 80% of Emmet County households recycle through the county’s system and recycling staff report constantly hearing from enthusiastic residents saying they, “recycle everything!” But even in a community of avid recyclers, the Grain Train Natural Foods Markets stand out for their deep recycling ethic.  Saturday, April 28, the markets—which are cooperatively owned by roughly 2,800 area individuals and families—were honored with Emmet County Recycling’s 2018 Recycler of the Year Award.


The Grain Train’s Petoskey market’s recycling efforts are evident from the moment customers walk in the door:  stacks of blue crates in the foyer are ready to receive reusable old-fashioned glass milk bottles from Shetler’s Dairy in Kalkaska. Just inside the store proper, reusable fabric produce bags made from recycled pop bottles are for sale above the fresh broccoli and beets. (Though even the produce bags off the rolls are made from recycled material.) Toilet paper and paper towel options are 100% recycled content and up to 90% post-consumer recycled.


At the self-serve food bar, waste reduction is encouraged by racks of plates, bowls, and flatware. For those who

VIDEO: Is it recyclable? When in doubt…

Posted on April 5th, 2018

When in doubt locally…

…right here on EmmetRecycling.org is the place to be!  Use the yellow SEARCH box in the upper right-hand corner.

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