Ferndale, Berkley, Pleasant Ridge converting to mixed recycling

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published June 14, 2017

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FERNDALE/BERKLEY/PLEASANT RIDGE — Three cities in the Woodward Talk’s coverage area soon will be converting to mixed recycling as part of a new Southeastern Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority program.

Single-family homes in Ferndale, Berkley and Pleasant Ridge, along with the other cities that are part of SOCRRA, will be receiving new 65-gallon bins to contain all their recyclables.

Huntington Woods already has been converted into a mixed-recycling city.

SOCRRA Organizational Development Manager Colette Farris said the current recycling system is called dual stream, which means paper or cardboard items to be pulled out and separated from plastic and metal items.

“For the residents, the direction was always curbside bins that you could put any cans and bottles loose in the recycling bin, and we asked that you bundle or bag any of the paper or cardboard separately,” she said.

Now, with mixed recycling, the hope is that since residents won’t have to separate any materials, they’ll be more likely to recycle more items instead of throwing them into the trash.

“We are in the process of constructing a whole new facility that will process … mixed recycling,” Farris said. “It just means from a resident’s perspective, with the carts that are coming, you can just put everything in the cart. You don’t have to bundle any paper or try to keep it separate. The whole cart is just going to get dumped into one part of the truck, and any sorting that happens, it’s going to happen at our facility. So it’s intended to simplify a bit for residents.”

The rollout of the new bins will take place from mid-July to mid-September, according to Farris, with 110,000 households being served across the SOCRRA communities.

Berkley Department of Public Works Director Derrick Schueller said the city is “definitely looking forward” to the conversion.

“It’s something that our residents have been asking us about for a few years,” he said.

“We’re expecting recycling rates to certainly increase with it. So I think it’s a good thing. Hopefully we’re moving more items from the landfill to the recycling areas, where they can be reused. I think that’s really the big hope of this. I know industrywide it’s something that many communities are moving towards. It’s something we’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” he said.

Pleasant Ridge City Manager James Breuckman also said he’s happy that the new program is being implemented, adding that it reduces barriers to recycling for residents.

“When residents don’t have to sort paper and all of the other recycling items anymore, you just throw it all into one bin, and it all just goes in one truck,” he said. “Then it gets sorted at the facility. So what it’s really doing is it’s removing barriers, making it easier for residents to recycle and more convenient, and it’s something we’ve actually been hearing about from our residents for a number of years now.”

Much like Schueller and Breuckman, Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter is happy about the change too, as he’s heard from cities that have converted to mixed recycling that it increases the amount of recycling that residents do, which is important for the city because Ferndale is paid by the pound for how much people recycle.

Coulter added that the city pays $28 per ton to have its waste removed, and it gets $53 per ton for the recycling that’s collected. So the more people recycle, the more he said Ferndale gets back.

“So it’s not only good for the planet, it’s good for our budget,” he said. “As a side benefit, I’ve been told that it is also very effective at keeping the rodent population down, because it’s hard plastic and they have lids. So I think there’s just many benefits for Ferndale that I’m excited to have them come to our city.”