Becky Skates, of Royal Oak, dropped off many bags of plastic for recycling at the SOCRRA Recycling Drop-Off Center after making an appointment July 24.

Becky Skates, of Royal Oak, dropped off many bags of plastic for recycling at the SOCRRA Recycling Drop-Off Center after making an appointment July 24.

Photo by Deb Jacques


SOCRRA re-opens recycling drop-off center, by appointment only

By: Mary Beth Almond | C&G Newspapers | Published July 28, 2020

METRO DETROIT — For the past four months, eco-conscious consumers have been stockpiling their paper, cardboard, glass and plastic containers while SOCRRA’s Recycling Drop-Off Center was closed due to COVID-19.

The facility, which temporarily shut its doors March 17, recently reopened for residents of 17 communities, but by appointment only.

“We officially reopened our site Monday, July 20, and we are doing an appointment system, so they have to have an appointment to enter our site. That is our way of doing the social distancing controls,” said Kim Tisler, an administrative assistant at SOCRRA.

Like everyone else, SOCRRA and Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority General Manager Jeff McKeen said, the facility is operating under the banner of the new normal.

“Very few things can operate the way they did before this pandemic, and SOCRRA’s Drop-Off Center is no exception. The modifications to our services are necessary to ensure access to services is balanced with safety in these uncertain and challenging times,” McKeen said in a statement.

SOCRRA officials said the high volume of residents using the center amid large trash and recycling trucks and semi-trailer traffic has long been problematic, and the pandemic has allowed staff to reassess the operations at the center and its inherent traffic concerns, while also considering social distancing requirements.

“Right now, everything people could do at our site before, they can still do. The biggest change we’ve made is that we are now only allowing SOCRRA community members — and a few special cities that we have agreements with for our facilities — to make appointments. So we are no longer just open to the general public,” Tisler explained.

The center is currently only available to residents of SOCRRA’s 12 member communities: Berkley, Beverly Hills, Birmingham, Clawson, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak and Troy — along with residents from Rochester, Rochester Hills, Bingham Farms, Franklin and Bloomfield Hills.

SOCRRA’s Recycling Drop-off Center, 995 Coolidge Highway, is now only accessible by appointment blocks to drop off any acceptable material — which includes recyclables, household hazardous waste, and electronics recycling, as well as the use of the paper shredder. Appointments can be made via SOCRRA’s website at www.socrra.org.

“We have a total of 17 communities that can use our site, and we have 17 communities vying for the appointments, so we are completely booked now up through (early) August. Each day, another day will open up for appointments,” Tisler said. “Most of the residents in our communities are avid recyclers and they do not want to throw these items into the trash to go into a landfill, so they are very conscious of the environment and trying to take care of our planet.”

Residents who have an appointment will be required to wear a mask while visiting the center and residency will be verified by the attendant.

Rochester Hills residents must purchase a $10 voucher at city hall or online to drop off household hazardous waste at the SOCRRA facility per visit.

“We’ve been offering this service to our residents for a little over a year,” said Lindsay Wood, an associate at the mayor’s office.

Rochester Assistant Finance Director Marcy Moriwaki said Rochester residents must obtain a $30 voucher at City Hall to dispose of their household hazardous waste at the SOCRRA facility.

“It’s a nice service that the city of Rochester provides,” she said.

A voucher is only needed if Rochester Hills and Rochester residents are going to be bringing household hazardous waste or used electronics to the center, Tisler explained.

“For general recycling — cardboard, plastic containers, glass, styrofoam, plastic bags — they don’t need a voucher for those items, but they do need an appointment,” she added.

To confirm residency, Rochester and Rochester Hills residents must bring their printed voucher or receipt, as well as a driver’s license to the facility on the day of their appointment. Residents that purchase a voucher online must print out the emailed voucher receipt on paper, print their address on the voucher and bring it to the SOCRRA facility. Electronic confirmation via a cellphone will not be accepted.

SOCRRA plans to conduct at least one event each year in each of its member communities to offer convenient in-town services to residents.

SOCRRA will also continue to offer alternate sites, with no appointments needed, for recycling including: electronics at e-Cycle Opportunities (JVS) in Southfield or ERG in Livonia; household hazardous waste at ERG in Livonia; and paper, cardboard, scrap metal and paper shredding at GFL Environmental in Royal Oak. Plastic bags can be returned to the Target, Kroger and Kohls stores located immediately north of the Drop-Off Center, in the Meijer store immediately east of the Drop-Off Center and at other Target, Kroger, Kohls and Meijer stores in the area. To find retail locations in your ZIP code, visit plasticfilmrecycling.org.

For more information on SOCRRA vouchers in Rochester, visit rochestermi.org/hhw or call the Department of Public Works at (248) 651-5165.

For direct assistance with SOCRRA vouchers in Rochester Hills, contact the Treasury Department at (248) 841-2581 or treasury@rochesterhills.org.

The SOCRRA facility is located at 995 Coolidge Highway in Troy. For more information or to make an appointment, visit www.socrra.org or call (248) 288-5150.