(C. Proxmire, Ferndale 115 News, July 28, 2012)
The Ferndale Environmental Sustainability Commission (FESC) has worked to encourage recycling in the city, and the newest numbers from SOCCRA show an increase.
According to Southeast Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority, Ferndale’s rate of recycling increased to 9.03% from last years’ 8.55%. Huntington Woods residents had the highest rate, with 21.87%.
Helena Rose, Vice Chair of the FESC is one of the dedicated recycling advocates who has set up recycling classes, written about the importance of recycling, and of course set a good example for her neighbors by putting recyclables in their own bins to be picked up on trash day.
“It is important that residents recycle because it is a way to preserve not only the resources of the earth, but of the City as well,” Rose said. “The City must pay for the service of waste removal and storage at a landfill. When items that can be recycled are processed and then sold, the City receives payment instead of a fee for the recycling that is picked up. So the more Ferndale residents recycle the less the City must pay for garbage removal.”
The report noted that more than 14,3000 tons of garbage and recycling was picked up in Ferndale last fiscal year, and about 9% of that was recycled, Rose said. “The city received a rebate of $37.50 for every ton of recycling SOCRRA picked up, saving the city about $48,500. If we had the same recycling rate as Huntington Woods (22%) the city would have saved around $118,000.”
Ferndale has increased its recycling with the help of several initiatives. The FESC holds Recycling 101 classes, and the Department of Public Works (DPW) participates and sometimes offers deals on the recycling bins. SOCRRA has also been working with business to collect recyclables in large recycling bins. In January, The Ferndale One~Fifteen News reported on the increase in business recycling, and how places like The Emory and Woodward Avenue Brewers can add quite a bit of valuable recyclable material to the city’s recycling efforts.
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.” At the recent Pig & Whiskey festival the green-loving bar owner also hired workers to sort garbage from recycling, adding dozens of bags full of valuable plastic that would otherwise have just gone to the landfill.
Rose encourages residents to get on board. “Get the word out that this practice will benefit our community; that there is an opportunity here to save the community money if we choose to take advantage of it,” she said.
“If they have questions about how to recycle, offer to print out the recycling guidelines for them available at www.SOCRRA.org. I think sometimes starting a new habit like this can seem overwhelming if people aren’t aware of how it works so having the “dos and don’ts” on hand could help. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking directly speaking with your neighbors about the benefits of recycling, I think the best way to encourage this habit is to lead by example. If people see bins set out around the city it might motivate them to give it a try. Also, if your neighbor expresses interest in recycling but has limitations on when or how they can pick up a bin from the City, please have them contact the FESC and we will assist them.
“We would like to keep the movement to encourage recycling going in Ferndale. The recycling rate did increase and that is fantastic, but we know by looking at other cities that we could do even more.”
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