(Crystal A. Proxmire, 1/2/2012)
The new year is off to a great start recycling-wise as SOCRRA (Southeast Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority) is working with a record number of Ferndale businesses and increasing revenue brought into the City through recycling programs.
Colette Farris spent the last two months of 2011 amping up efforts to reach the business community. Earlier in the year SOCRRA’s residential efforts were boosted up thanks to campaigning by the FESC (Ferndale Environmental Sustainability Commission) and the DPW (Department of Public Works). The groups worked together to inform residents about not only the environmental impact of recycling, but the financial benefit as well.
Manufacturers need plastic, metal, glass and paper, so SOCRRA is able to collect these items and sell them. Currently for every ton of recyclables collected, cities in the program get $37.50. This is in contrast to the fees the City pays when regular refuse is collected.
The same is true for recyclables collected at Ferndale businesses. That’s why SOCRRA is targeting businesses of all sizes to join their neighbors in keeping their metal, plastics and paper out of the trash and into the program that makes the city money.
Farris had 65 Ferndale businesses on the books when she started the project in November. Since then she’s added 15, and talked seven of the existing businesses into expanding their collection services. “Some were just using our cardboard route to recycle cardboard, but many had bins or carts to recycle PAPER and CONTAINERS-PLASTIC, METAL, GLASS as well,” Farris said.
“Getting the word out is the first challenge. It can also be a challenge to change people’s mindset. The reality is that everything needs to go into some receptacle – it’s really not any harder to put it in a recycling bin than a trash can, but sometimes the mental shift is the biggest challenge,” she said. “All businesses have something to recycle. Everyone receives junk mail, catalogs, etc. if nothing else. Our goal is to sign up as many businesses as we can and educate along the way.”
Chris Johnston, owner of The Emory, Woodward Avenue Brewers, and The Loving Touch, has long been a proponent of recycling. He started 14 years ago after The WAB went from a simple brewery to a full bar serving liquor. “After about two weeks of seeing how many glass bottles we were throwing away, I thought, man there has to be something we can do besides wasting all this glass,” Johnston said. He contacted the City and got on board with the recycling program, without any regrets. “Glass is the biggest one for a bar or restaurant. It’s disgusting how many bottles end up in the landfill when a bar owner doesn’t care. I couldn’t do it.”
In addition to taking advantage of container, paper and cardboard recycling through SOCRRA, the earth-minded entrepreneur owns a 1980 Mercedes diesel car that has been converted to run on the waste oil from the kitchens of WAB and the Emory. There are barrels full of waste grain left over from the brewing process that are picked up by a local farmer to feed to their cattle. And the carryout containers in the establishments are earth-friendly products from local company GreenSafe. (https://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/02/21/more-ferndale-restaurants-go-green-to-go/)
The 80 businesses that recycle are diverse in size and type, but each plays a role in helping the City control waste collection costs. You’ll find stores like Western Market, Lenny’s Copy Center, and PakMail that fill several containers a week, along with small businesses like State of the Art Custom Framing, Dye Salon, Go Comedy and the Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop that do their part. Joining Johnson in his quest to keep liquor bottles out of landfills are other contentious establishments like Howe’s Bayou, Danny’s Irish Pub, Assaggi Bistro and Torino.
Businesses can contact Colette Farris, at SOCRRA by phone (248)288-5150 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns or to sign up for their FREE recycling bins and carts. For more information on SOCRRA go to www.socrra.org. SOCRRA is a collaborative effort of twelve communities to recycle and earn money for those communities.
Here are some other exciting recycling stories:
If your business recycles with SOCRRA and you’d like to add a picture of your business’ recycling efforts, please email to email@example.com. We’ll edit to size and add the caption. Thanks!