Alpena County recycling program to be audited

News Photo by Crystal Nelson Stan Mischley, Alpena Resource Recovery Facility manager, on Thursday holds a beer box, which is one of several items that cannot be recycled in Alpena County’s program.

ALPENA — The Alpena Resource Recovery Facility will audit what people are throwing into Alpena County’s recycling bins.

Facility Manager Stan Mischley said residents will receive a postcard this week notifying them of the audit, which will occur on Aug. 17. Mischley and a group of volunteers will sorting through bins and record what they find.

“From that audit, we’re going to come up with a list of things that people are throwing in the recycling bins they shouldn’t be throwing in,” he said.

Mischley previously told The News that recycling staff frequently find things in the recycling bins they shouldn’t, such as soiled adult diapers, dog poop, and needles. On multiple occasions, Resource Recovery Facility employees have gone to the hospital after being stuck by a used needle.

The facility will use a grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and the Recycling Partnership to conduct the audit.

Mischley recently traveled to Traverse City, where he learned how to conduct an audit. He also traveled to Emmet County last week to participate in that county’s recycling audit.

The week after the audit, volunteers will observe what residents are throwing into the county’s recycling bins, Mischley said.

When those volunteers see someone throw something in that shouldn’t be there, they will be handed a card explaining their mistake and what is allowed in the county’s program.

Mischley hopes the efforts will reduce the county’s contamination rate.

Mischley said the contamination rate is currently around 22%, but he would like to see it lowered to about 10%.

He said it costs taxpayers for his staff to transport contaminated recyclables from the transfer site to the landfill in Atlanta.

“If people would not put that stuff into the recycling bins, that would be $8,000 or $9,000 we could use somewhere else in our facility,” he said.

Once the audit is over, Mischley said, Alpena County residents will be sent another mailer detailing their findings of the audit.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.


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