Happy Anniversary!  Can you believe it’s been 25 years?  We can’t either.  But this momentous occasion has us looking back, and looking forward, with special attention.

Looking back, the story of recycling initially seems like a story of stuff.  In the case of Emmet County Recycling, it has certainly been a history of more and more stuff—more and more kinds, and more and more of it all. We started out taking two materials: newspapers and motor oil.  In our first year (1990) we marketed 400 tons in all.  Now, you can recycle over 60 materials with us, and in 2013 we moved almost 12,000 tons! But for all that STUFF, the story of recycling is a story of people.

Convenient recycling, as we know it, began here with a mostly volunteer, nonprofit called Recycle North (RN). They offered a variety of recycling events and, in cooperation with Little Traverse

Enterprises, established two newspaper drop sites. They got a big grant and built the first recycling building at what is now the County Recycling Center.  Then, when the volume got too big, RN supported the County in taking it all over!  Credit is due, too, to the forward-thinking County officials serving in the late 1980’s who laid the innovative policy foundation on which our award-winning program has grown.  And, of course, a huge thanks is owed to the staff of Emmet County Recycling, under the amazing leadership of our one-and-only director, Elisa Seltzer.

Really though it all comes down to youYou, and your northern Michigan neighbors who embraced recycling with remarkable enthusiasm.  Without you putting each sheet of paper or tin can in the recycling bins, the rest would be meaningless!  So this is OUR anniversary: YOU+us.

Looking forward, one can see recycling as a gift to the future: a gift of vast forests and clean water and air, a gift of jobs, and a gift of resources to realize future dreams.

And so, we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Emmet County Recycling with pride and gratitude.  It’s always been you+us: recycling into the future!