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.

Garbage Burning Dangers Highlighted by Temp Inversions

Posted on January 31st, 2018

Emmet County DPW Media Release, January 31, 2018

Backyard burning of garbage is largely illegal in Michigan and it is practiced by only a tiny percent of residents–even in rural areas—but it has an outsized health impact. Inversions of the usual temperature gradient in the atmosphere highlight the danger by holding the smoke in low clouds of fog near the source.

Residents who burn their garbage may think it is better to do it in the cold months because neighbors will have their windows closed. However, the pollution created by burning garbage has far more serious effects than smell. In recognition of this, the State of Michigan banned backyard burning of most household garbage in 2012. (For ban details, visit Michigan.gov and search for “Burning of Trash”.)

When modern trash is burned, cancer-causing and otherwise toxic compounds like lead, mercury, hydrocarbons, and hexachlorobenzene are released in the smoke. Even burning paper (which is about the only flammable material not included in the ban) releases dioxin, a carcinogen which is potent even at very low levels. And, of course, what goes up must come down. When these chemicals come down over farms, forests, and lakes they are consumed by livestock, wildlife, and fish

ECR Leader Presents at National Recycling Conference

Posted on September 7th, 2017

Elisa Seltzer (third from left), Director of Emmet County Recycling (DPW), participates in a plenary panel at the Resource Recycling Conference.

The Resource Recycling Conference is THE recycling conference of the year.  The 2017 Conference was held in Minneapolis MN, August 27-30 and not only were Emmet County Recycling staff there, but our Director, Elisa Seltzer was on a panel that presented to the entire conference audience.

Based on the strength of our policy foundation, our comprehensive programs, and the quantities of material recovered (thanks to our fantastic customers!) Elisa was invited to speak as part of the Wednesday Plenary Session. The topic was “Hacking Recycling – Tools and Tricks for Your Program.” After briefly describing our county and region and giving an overview of our recycling systems, she emphasized some of the innovative policy, funding, and outreach tools that have been central to our success.

Click the link below to view the slide show.

RRC Hacking Recycling Tools & Tips 2017

Emmet Recyclers Honored by National Recycling Organization

Posted on August 29th, 2017

Emmet County Recycling (ECR) was recognized by the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) in the “Outstanding Community/Government Program” category on Monday night, August 28, 2017.  The NRC awards were presented at the Resource Recycling Conference in Minneapolis, MN.  Representing ECR at the Conference were (center above) Outreach Specialist Lindsey Walker and Director Elisa Seltzer.  They were joined in celebrating the accomplishment by (left) Michigan Recycling Coalition Director Kerrin O’Brien and (right) NRC Board President Bob Gedert.  The Michigan Recycling Coalition—with which Emmet County works closely–was also recognized by the NRC as the Outstanding Recycling Organization.

Economy Focus of Legislators’ Tour of Recycling Center

Posted on August 28th, 2017

With Governor Snyder and the MDEQ expected to propose legislation to strengthen recycling in Michigan this fall, State Senator Wayne Schmidt and Lee Chatfield, Speaker Pro Tempore of the Michigan House of Representatives toured the Emmet County Pleasantview Road Drop-off Center on Tuesday August 22. The tour focused on the economic and jobs benefits improved recycling could yield for the state.


The Emmet County recycling and waste disposal facility is looked to as a model both for its performance and for its funding mechanism.  While Michigan as a whole recycles just 15 percent of its waste—compared to an average of 30% in the Great Lakes States—Emmet County recycled upwards of 40%.


97% of the material recycled through Emmet County supplies Michigan businesses.  In 2015, Emmet County Recycling produced roughly 15,000 tons of recycled materials and employed over 20 full time equivalent (FTE) people.  Landfilling the same material would have employed an estimated 2 FTE.  At the same time sale of the materials brought in $626,900 to help fund the recycling program and saved residents and businesses an estimated $1,740,000 in disposal costs.


Emmet County Recycling also derives funding from County Waste Transfer Station revenues, a model under

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

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

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