Joint recycling initiative in Copper Country

Joint recycling initiative in Copper Country

HOUGHTON-HANCOCK — Two Copper Country cities got together to talk about a joint recycling initiative.

A new recycling program has been in the talks for the Cities of Houghton and Hancock. After realizing that both cities’ waste contracts expire this year, the city governments decided to request proposals on new waste and recycling programs. The hope is to have a reduced curb–side pick up rate if both cities sign with the same vendor.

Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson said, “We intentionally bid at the same time and our bids were due at the same time, but clearly both cities would enter their own contracts. But all the vendors who have responded to the [request for proposals] have said that they would, obviously, and their rates would be cheaper if both cities went with the same vendor.”

Hancock currently provides curbside pick–up once a month, while the City of Houghton requires residents to drop off their recycling at the Waste Management center. Public comments on the current systems were critical with many residents wanting to see improved curbside pick–up in both cities.

Houghton City Manager Eric Waara said, “Well certainly I don’t think anybody can argue that recycling is not a good thing to do. I mean it’s just a smart thing to do. When we put together the request for proposals, what we were requesting was single–stream curbside recycling for residents of the City of Houghton. So we need to review those proposals right now and determine which is going to be affordable and sustainable for the city.”

At the recent meeting, community members representing both cities, the nearby colleges and even high school students showed up to comment on the need for improved recycling efforts. Both city managers say that they will be reviewing proposals in the coming weeks and hope to have a new program running by the end of Summer.