Royal Oak, Madison Heights to contend in ‘Recycle Off’

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published January 23, 2018

 A 65-gallon recycling cart sits curbside for pickup Jan. 18. The cities of Royal Oak and Madison Heights will participate in a “Recycle Off” from Feb. 1 through the end of April to see which city can increase its recycling rate by the greatest percentage.

A 65-gallon recycling cart sits curbside for pickup Jan. 18. The cities of Royal Oak and Madison Heights will participate in a “Recycle Off” from Feb. 1 through the end of April to see which city can increase its recycling rate by the greatest percentage.

Photo provided by Judy Davids

ROYAL OAK — City officials are banking on Royal Oak and Madison Heights residents’ altruism and competitiveness to keep recyclables out of landfills.

From February through the end of April, the two cities will compete in a “Recycle Off” to see which community can increase its recycling rates the most. It’s an eco-friendly contest in which the winning community will receive bragging rights.

Judy Davids, communications specialist for Royal Oak, said the communities would use recycling rates from the month of January as a baseline.

“In the spirit of doing things with our next-door neighbors, we embarked on this challenge for the bragging rights of being the top recycling city,” Davids said. 

Because the city of Royal Oak is nearly double the size of of Madison Heights, Royal Oak’s tonnage includes schools and businesses while Madison Heights does not, and Royal Oak adopted larger 65-gallon recycling carts this summer, officials opted to use the percentage difference in recycling rates as the contest’s determining factor.

“(Royal Oak) Mayor Mike Fournier and I have waged friendly battles over the years. Our cities challenge each other to improve quality of life and gain attention for important projects,” Madison Heights Mayor Brian Hartwell said, citing last year’s “Are you faster than a cop?” health challenge as an example. 

Hartwell said recycling is important for many reasons, including reducing the size and dependence on landfills; generating revenue for cities; cutting the costs of hiring waste contractors; and reducing energy costs by reusing old materials to create new products.

“Mayor Fournier is proud that his community now offers single-stream recycling, something that Madison Heights has excelled at for decades,” he added. “I accepted the mayor’s challenge on behalf of our city and now invite our residents to up their recycling game.” 

As a point of reference, Hartwell said that Madison Heights residents recycled 101.9 tons in September 2017. During the same period, Royal Oak recycled 428.13 tons. 

“Ever since we’ve gotten just the bigger containers on our own, we already increased our recycling tonnage,” Davids said. “Madison Heights doesn’t have as big of bins. In order to make it fair, the (winner will be the) city who increases their participation in recycling the most.”

Residents can place paper (newspapers, junk mail, cardboard, magazines), cartons (milk cartons, juice boxes), metal (empty cans, aerosol cans), glass (bottles and jars of all colors) and plastic (bottles, jugs, containers) into their recycling.

Royal Oak and Madison Heights provide curbside single-stream recycling to every household using 18-gallon recycling bins or, in Royal Oak, 65-gallon carts. The recyclables are collected weekly on the same day that trash is collected.

Royal Oak residents can acquire bins from the Southeastern Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority, located at 3910 W. Webster Road in Royal Oak. Madison Heights residents can acquire bins from the Madison Heights Department of Public Services, located at 801 Ajax Drive in Madison Heights.

“I’m hoping the good people of Madison Heights and Royal Oak get excited about this challenge and embrace it,” said Joe Vitali, director of public services for Madison Heights. “I’m excited to participate and see the positive impact on recycling numbers that will hopefully carry past the competition and throughout the entire year.”

For more information about recycling in the city of Royal Oak, call SOCRRA at (248) 288-5150 or visit www.socrra.org.

For more information about the “Recycle Off,” visit www.romi.gov/recycleoff.

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.