2020 Annual Report

Posted on June 1st, 2021

First, please accept our condolences, Reader, if you lost loved ones, your health, or your financial stability to the COVID19 pandemic. It certainly gave us a run for our money operationally and as a team, and touched many of our families. In the end, though, the DPW team powered through.

Oh, and, by the way, we marked the 30th Anniversary of Emmet County Recycling and completed an overhaul of our container-recycling sort line that added robots! Take a look:

The Whole Works 2020 ECDPW Annual Report


  • Recyclers Resilient in Face of Virus
  • Drop-off Center Deluged by Decluttering
  • Food-Scraps Collection Forges Ahead
  • HAZMAT Hangs On
  • EGLE Grant Makes for Great Year in Communications

Cupid in Quarantine: Easy, Green Ideas that Support Local Businesses Too

Posted on February 9th, 2021

Green heartClassic Valentine’s Day plans may require some adjustments due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While getting COVID creative, show the planet and local businesses some love, too, this February 14. Valentine’s cards with glitter, bouquets with plastic ornaments, and boxes of candy all shiny with metallic foil can quickly turn it into another high-waste holiday. These tips, tricks, and hacks from the crew at Emmet County Recycling help keep it green while creating memorable experiences.

Several local florists compost scraps from their flowers and greenery with the Emmet County food scraps composting program: buy from Monarch Floral or Sky’s the Limit in Petoskey, or A.R. Pontius in Harbor Springs and thank them for composting. They will also be happy to work with a customer’s reused vase. Skip the plastic add-ons and, when it is spent, the bouquet can be composted at home or at the Pleasantview Road Drop-off Center.

Choose cards by local artists at Northgoods or Somebody’s Gallery. Cards that are free of glitter and metallic foils can be recycled. If the card is a particular hit, reuse it by framing it for some petite wall art. A unique and very special local option is a Fairy Gram crafted

Call If You Witness Dumping!

Posted on January 14th, 2021

Swinging by a recycling site to drop off recyclables should be an uplifting experience of acting as part of a community doing the right thing. So, many people are angry when they see random non-recyclable items left in and around the giant green bins, sometimes a lot of non-recyclable items. Now, in an effort to catch and fine people leaving junk at their sites, Emmet County Recycling (ECR) is installing surveillance cameras and asking customers to call their office if they witness dumping.

Garbage left at recycling drop sites is a problem nationally. Items dumped at the sites include everything from toys to vinyl siding. Recycling program employees clean up most sites several times a week, but more junk appears. Picking up, hauling and landfilling it all is a big drain on a recycling program’s labor and budget.

The cameras were installed over the fall, accompanied by signs notifying customers that the sites are under surveillance. Now, with the motion-triggered cameras taking pictures of comings and goings at the sites, the ECR team is asking their customers to help them identify those who abuse the recycling sites. A call—to 231-348-0640—reporting the time and site location allows ECR staff to hone

Household Waste Price Increases

Posted on December 31st, 2020

Effective January 1, 2021 the Emmet County Department of Public Works is changing the following rates at the solid waste transfer station:

  • Bagged trash to $3.00 from $2.50 per 30 gallon bag of ordinary household trash
  • Loose trash to $17.00 from $16.00 per cubic yard of ordinary household trash

Rates for non-compactable waste and construction and demolition debris are not affected.

The transfer station is part of the Pleasantview Road Drop-off Center. The Center is open 8-4 weekdays and 8-3 Saturdays. The facility is closed on Sundays and major holidays.

Pillars of Recycling Program Honored with 2020 Recycler of the Year Award

Posted on November 23rd, 2020

from our November 12, 2020 media release on the award winners

As Emmet County’s renowned recycling program celebrates its 30th anniversary and America Recycles Month, its 2020 Recycler of the Year Award is honoring nine pillars of the program. All of the honorees contributed to developing the program in its early days and have served Emmet County Recycling (ECR) for at least 20 years.

Bill Dohm, supervisor of Little Traverse Township, laid the foundation for Emmet County Recycling when, in the 1970s, he took the bold political step of volunteering his township to host the county waste Transfer Station. The transfer station property, which is located on Pleasantview Road, later became the home of the county’s recycling collection and sorting operations. When the county Department of Public Works (DPW)—of which ECR is a program—was established in 1979, Dohm became one of its first board members and continues to serve on the board 30 years later. Dohm is known for always being solid and fair, for reading every line of every budget report and reviewing every construction document, and for always asking the tough questions.

Max Putters, the former director of the Emmet County Office of Planning and Zoning,

Recyclers Fire Up New Sort Line with Robots

Posted on October 19th, 2020

From our press release October 19, 2020

Emmet County Recycling began operating a cutting edge sorting line October 12. The line—which features three sorting robots—processes the dual-steam program’s “Containers” stream. The county’s recycle system has been widely looked to as a model and the new sort-line project attracted national attention.

The containers stream includes paper cartons and cups; metal cans, foil and trays; glass bottles and jars; and plastic bottles, jugs, jars, tubs and trays. The materials are collected curbside and from drop-off sites in Emmet, Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties. They are all delivered to Emmet County’s Pleasantview Road Drop-off Center. In the recycle processing facility there, people and machines along the sort line separate the materials to go to seven different companies in the region, which each use one type to produce new products ranging from detergent jugs to car parts. Non-recyclable items placed in the recycling bins must be removed by the sorters and are then landfilled.

The new line replaces one installed in 2009. Ten years is a long life span for a container recycling sort line and, in addition to worn out equipment, the overhaul was necessitated by many changes over the years. Like most

Postcards Aim to Reduce Junk Deposited at Drop Sites

Posted on September 18th, 2020

From our media release on the subject dated 9/18/20

Amongst all the election mail filling northern Michigan mailboxes, a more coolheaded postcard arrived last week. Its message: that, when it comes to recycling plastics, keeping it simple is the way to go. The postcard, which was sent to households in Cheboygan, Emmet, and Presque Isle counties is one part of a larger, grant-funded effort to improve the efficiency of the region’s recycling programs by cutting down on non-recyclables deposited at recycling drop-off sites.

The three counties are working on the project as a group because recyclables from all three are sorted and marketed by the Emmet County Recycling Center (ECR). Emmet County Recycling (ECR) operates a “dual-stream” system, meaning that day-to-day recyclables are collected in two groups: 1) Papers, Boxes and Bags and 2) Mixed Containers.

Almost 20% of the materials collected in the Mixed Containers bins are not recyclable. Examples of problem materials items include hangers, binders, luggage, hoses, toys, and even vinyl siding. “This means that 20% of our labor, fuel and equipment used to haul the Mixed Containers bins is going to waste. And 20% of our labor sorting these recyclables is just removing waste. It’s a

COVID Demand Highlights Importance of Paper Carton Recycling

Posted on June 29th, 2020

Local paper mills need recyclable materials to keep up with increase in demand for products

A media release from the Carton Council, June 23, 2020

CHEBOYGAN, Michigan – When Michigan residents recycle, they aren’t only helping the
environment, they are also helping manufacturing in the state. Great Lakes Tissue, located in
Cheboygan, as well as other paper mills throughout North America are encouraging consumers to
continue recycling to provide the feedstock needed to keep up with the increase in demand for
certain products brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Food and beverage cartons, made mainly of paper, are an example of a recyclable material that
provides the needed feedstock for paper mills to create new products. Paper products, like toilet
paper, tissues, and paper towels, have continued to be in short supply across the country with many
manufacturers struggling to keep up.

Once cartons are collected, paper mills like Great Lakes Tissue use a hydrapulper (a piece of
equipment that resembles a giant kitchen blender) to extract and separate the fiber from the
cartons. The pulp that comes out is used to make new paper products.

“Recycling programs are

Recyclers Resume Normal Operations

Posted on April 7th, 2020

Excerpted from our media release on the subject April 2, 2020.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Emmet County Recycling announced three good pieces of news Thursday:

  • They are resuming collection of the Mixed Containers stream, which includes bottles, cans, cartons, cups, tubs and the like. This is effective immediately.
  • Curbside recycling service will resume on Monday, April 6 with routes running on their usual days, and
  • Residents of Resort, Bear Creek and Little Traverse townships may put their rolling Papers, Boxes and Bags cart back to work, effective Monday, April 6.

Collection of Mixed Containers was temporarily suspended due to the layout of the mixed containers sort line at the county’s recycle processing facility. The line design did not allow for the workers to maintain six feet of social distance. However, when asked for suggestions for how mixed containers sortation could be accomplished safely, sort crew members designed and built floor to ceiling barricades from heavy cardboard to separate themselves. “At noon one day last week I asked them to think about it and get me ideas. By 2:00 that afternoon the sorters had not only come up with a solution, they had built the barricades!” said Emmet County Recycling

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

© 2021 Emmet County, Michigan • All Rights Reserved

Produced by Gaslight Media