October 31, 2014

City council to vote on recycling program

Posted

STANDISH — For years the City of Standish has not had a recycling program, but on June 17, things could change as the city council is set to vote on a new program.

Partnering with Sunrise Disposal Services and Rewards for Recycling, if the program is passed, residents could save a little green by being green thanks in part to a rewards program.

With Rewards for Recycling, residents would receive coupons through e-mail for various businesses in Standish and the surrounding area.

“Just simply adding recycling is not enough to make it a habit. Right now over 70 percent of municipalities have recycling available to them, but only 18 percent use it,” said Preston Hards, marketing director for Rewards for Recycling. “One in five use (recycling) that they all pay for.”

If passed, the program will cost residents $3.87 a month, with $2.87 going toward Sunrise’s operating cost, and one dollar going toward the rewards program.

The fee would be added to city residents’ quarterly trash collection fee, which appears on their water bill. Each quarter, residents would pay $11.61, which is for three months of service.

Standish City Manager Mike Moran, says that only concern the city council has is whether people will pay for it or not.

“It doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but we do have a lot of people on a fixed income, and that is a lot of money.” he said. “The concern will be addressed at the next council meeting.”

Though residents would pay a higher trash collection fee, Hards said that the program will pay off for the residents.

“The program for the residents will pay for itself. The value is up to $250 dollars a year on average if they use the coupons,” Hards said during a meeting at the City Commissioners office Wednesday.

“E-mails will be sent out to give coupons, or give people the chance to explain why their carts aren’t out there,” added Rewards for Recycling salesman Dan Garman. “They won’t be punished if they were out of town.”

With Sunrise picking up the actual trash, Rewards for Recycling would drive the streets before the recycling is picked up every month, scan the 64 gallon recycling bins that Sunrise would provide, and then automatically e-mail coupons to participants.

“We don’t have to walk out and scan it,” said Hards about the scanning system on their vehicle. “We just have to drive within 10 feet of it.”

If the program is enacted, there will be two types of rewards called tier one rewards and tier two rewards.

Tier one will go out to everyone, even if they don’t recycle much, but the tier two rewards will be of higher value and will only be rewarded to those with recycling points.

Companies in Standish and the surrounding area will have the chance to sign up with the program and offer special deals, with the chance to list their business for free, but also go a step farther if they want to advertise online.

“If they want to do more than just a coupon, then they will have to pay,” said the marketing director about the potential to advertise with the program. “Twenty-five percent of (the profit) will go back to the city.”

Currently, Michigan accepts out-of-state trash with a 17 cents tax per ton, the lowest tax of any state.

Garman says that is set to change, and that if it does, the city will get more money back from the state.

“What they want to do is take it from 17 cents to $7.95, and the cities will get some of that money back if they aggressively recycle,” he said. “The city will get back $4 a household.”

The program is being used in some Michigan communities that are around the size of Standish, such as the city of Sylvan Lake in Oakland County, which has an estimated population of 1,735, and the city of Clio in Genesee County, which has an estimated population of 2,483.

Clio City Manager Jack Abernathy said his community has seen a positive impact.

“We started it in January (and) probably our recycling was about 20 percent. I believe that by the first of March we have gone up to 60 percent,” said Abernathy, whose city is one of eight municipalities that uses the Rewards for Recycling program in Genesse county. “The only complaint that I have had is from a couple of old ladies who didn’t have a computer, so I sent them to the library. I personally think that it has been a beneficial program.”

Moran says that the city really wants to hear from the community on this subject.

“I know Mayor Wilson and Charlie Macaulay are very favorable about seeing this come about,” he said. “It’s not something that we would not force on the community if the majority of the community doesn’t want it. The mayor and I are very interested in getting feedback.”

The next Standish City Council meeting is scheduled for June 17, at 6 pm.

For more information about the proposed recycling program, call Standish City Hall at 989-846-9588, or Rewards for Recycling at 810-653-2325.

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