Some residents have expressed concerns about recyclable items potentially ending up in landfills.

Some residents have expressed concerns about recyclable items potentially ending up in landfills.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

WB responds to reports that recyclables are going to landfills

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published May 31, 2024


WEST BLOOMFIELD — Some residents have been expressing concerns about whether or not items that they put out to be recycled are going where they are supposed to be.

Multiple residents recently shared those concerns via, which is a social networking service for neighborhoods.

According to one user, they contacted the township because they saw a GFL truck dumping the contents of the recycle bin into a regular, back-loading garbage truck with the hydraulic compactor.

The same resident also noticed that a large stack of cut-down boxes placed underneath their recycle bin was taken by the regular garbage truck and not by the recycling one.

Other posters expressed similar concerns.

Township Supervisor Steven Kaplan acknowledged that the township, which contracts with GFL Environmental, does hear from residents about the issue.

“The township has been adamantly informed by GFL that even though, from time to time, waste hauling and recyclables are placed in the same truck, they are … divided from one another, and at the landfill, only the waste hauling is deposited,” Kaplan said.

In response to an interview request, a representative from GFL requested that questions be submitted via email. At press time, there was no response to questions that were submitted.

“If a waste-hauling company in West Bloomfield mixed or inter-mixed garbage with recycling, that would be the death knell for (that) company,” Kaplan said. “We would terminate them upon having a replacement in place. Each year we can nullify the contract, I think with 90 days notice. We’re in the middle of a seven-year contract, but that would be grounds for disentangling from GFL.”

According to Kaplan, the township has been contracting with GFL since 2015. He said that residents pay GFL directly.

“They don’t pay the township,” he said. “We negotiate with GFL for the lowest price we can garner, which is $250.32 per year now, minus discounts for timely payment. … Invoices are generated by and sent by GFL to residents, and then the resident pays GFL directly.”

According to Kaplan, the fee to GFL encompasses rubbish, recycling and yard waste.

According to GFL’s website, items that are recycled are milk jugs, soda and water bottles, laundry soap jugs, tin and steel cans, cardboard boxes, newspapers, glass, magazines, phone books, office paper, aluminum cans, junk mail and food boxes.

The site states that all plastic and metal containers should be rinsed with water, and that food and cardboard boxes should be free of liners, styrofoam, or any other packing materials.

A representative from GFL sent an email to a township employee that addressed the concerns of residents.

“I understand how some folks can get the impression that we may mix recyclables (occasionally) but let me assure you that this does not happen,” the email states. “You may, or may not, know that we occasionally will run three different styles of trucks on our recycling collection routes. This is driven by several factors, truck repairs, out of service units or just normal maintenance. Also, throughout the day, we may need to switch out one type of recycling truck to another. So, there are times that some folks see a rear load packing truck picking up recyclables when they usually see it picking up trash or the other way (around). The three types of trucks you see servicing recyclables is the rear load truck just mentioned. You also may see one that we call a side load because it has trough on the driver’s side of the truck or the fully automated truck that loads from the front bucket that dumps over the top.”

Residents who have questions for the township can call (248) 451-4845.

To contact GFL, call (586) 772-8900 or visit