Gary Burda, of Sterling Heights, stops by the recycling drop-off center at the Sterling Heights Department of Public Works building in Sterling Heights Feb. 15.

Gary Burda, of Sterling Heights, stops by the recycling drop-off center at the Sterling Heights Department of Public Works building in Sterling Heights Feb. 15.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Recycling program maintains drop-off sites

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published February 21, 2018

Several months after Sterling Heights’ curbside recycling program switched hands to Green for Life Environmental, a public works administrator is pleased with the public’s participation in the program.

According to Sterling Heights Department of Public Works Director Michael Moore, while he doesn’t have an exact figure of subscribers, he estimated that around 7,500 subscribers use GFL’s curbside recycling in Sterling Heights. He praised GFL’s handling of the program and explained its advantages over the previous company’s curbside recycling program.

“The advantage is that recycling with GFL is cheaper, $57 per year, and it’s also every single week on your normal refuse collection day,” he said. “Waste Management was every other week.”

In 2016, a City Council majority chose to switch Sterling Heights’ waste hauling company from Waste Management to Rizzo Environmental Services. Months later, GFL acquired Rizzo’s contract.

Although Waste Management originally had a contract for an opt-in curbside recycling program until 2018, it reportedly decided to end the contract early, and GFL was able to take over the curbside recycling program in August 2017.

For residents who aren’t subscribing to the voluntary curbside recycling program, the city still currently keeps three recycling drop-off centers in operation. One site is at the DPW building on 18 Mile Road; a second site is along 15 Mile Road, near Baumgartner Park; and the final site is along Clinton River Road, near Schoenherr Road.

“The three recycling centers are used every day, all day, by residents,” Moore said. “It’s incredible the number of people that use these centers.”

During the public comment portion of the Feb. 6 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, resident Thomas Neil asked about upcoming city renovations and plans involving the DPW, and how that could affect recycling.

“Is there going to be any plan to update some of the recycling sites that we have in the city — to expand them, to remove them or maybe get some more of them?” Neil asked.

In response to that question, Moore told the Sentry that the city will review recycling options when it progresses in its plan to create a new DPW building over the next few years. But he said that at this point, the drop-off services will not change at any of the three centers.

“We officially intend to still provide the recycling center service at the DPW,” he said. “We will review some organizational efforts at the center. The key is that center will stay there.”

Moore said he had no comment on how the city’s recycling programs benefit the city’s economic situation. But he said he encourages all residents to take advantage of the curbside program as a way to help the environment.

According to the city’s website, the recycling program generally accepts many of the following items, with some exceptions: paper, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, phone books, paper boxes, cardboard, plastic containers, glass, bottles, jars, tin cans, small metal objects, aluminum and empty aerosol cans.

A GFL representative could not be reached by press time on the volume of recycled material that it collects in Sterling Heights.

Find out more about the Sterling Heights Department of Public Works by visiting or by calling (586) 446-2440. Learn more about GFL by visiting or by calling (844) 464-3587.