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Recycling a worthwhile investment

Reporter Steve Schulwitz told us recently that Alpena County has a few directions it might go to spend the $5.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act money it received from the federal government.

It might invest in some of its own current facilities, some of which need significant overhauls.

It might honor a request from Alpena for $1 million for a new clear well at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

And it might honor a request from Alpena Resource Recovery, the local recycling operation, for money toward the construction of a new recycling facility near the Alpena County Regional Airport. Resource Recovery has received a $1 million state grant toward the project, but needs help making the match.

All of those projects are worthwhile, and the county might have enough money to help them all.

But we urge the county Board of Commissioners to give special consideration to the recycling facility request.

Recycling pays big dividends for us all. It keeps waste out of our landfills, helping the environment. It prevents the manufacture of some new plastics, helping keep those plastics out of our Great Lakes (a major problem). It saves energy from manufacturing, helping slow climate change, and it preserves natural resources such as timber, which also yields climate benefits.

County Administrator Mary Catherine Hannah said the recycling investment could have economic benefits, too, by luring industries related to the processing and manufacture of recycled materials to our communities.

We hope the commissioners give that request a good, hard look.

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