Changes are coming soon for recycling pickup in Marquette

The City of Marquette and the Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority are about to change the way they collect recycling. As ABC 10’s Kevin Terpstra reports, officials believe the change will aid the city in collecting more revenue from the sale of its recycled materials.

When it comes to recycling, deciding on what’s good to go can be a little confusing. Beginning May 11th, however, the Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority will aim to simplify its criteria for curbside pickup.

“Moving forward, we’re going to be asking them to separate that out into two streams, (as) we call it,” Marquette assistant city manager Kyle Whitney said. “One is fibers, which is corrugated cardboard, cardboard boxes, shoe boxes, paper; and then the other stream is rigids, and that’s plastics, that’s metals, glass.”

What material is picked up will alternate back and forth each week. Fibers will be picked up the first week the changes take effect, with rigids picked up the following week, and so on. If you’re recycling bottles or jars, it’s important that you remove the caps and lids. Otherwise, you’ve contaminated the object and it’s garbage.

“Pull the cap off; put them both in the recyclables,” Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority director Rick Aho said. “We sell the metal, which is valuable and then the glass can be used as best we can.”

What you might be most interested to know is that the change in collection won’t cost you or the city any more money. In fact, it will save money and bring in more revenue in the long run.

“The more you recycle, the more content that you can divert from the landfill in one way or another, whether that is composted, whether it is recycled, that saves you money because it’s stuff that you’re not putting in a green bag, or in the paid bag that you have to use for the garbage collection,” Whitney said. “Those cost money, so anything that you can take out of those bags saves you as a resident.”

“So when you look at it, if we can get a $20 profit for the material and we don’t put it in the landfill, that’s a $60 swing for our municipalities and that’s a huge economic change,” Aho said.

Separating recyclables by material allows for a better product once the materials have been crushed and re-purposed. The other major benefit of recycling is the obvious: keeping unnecessary garbage out of landfills. Just under 1,000 tons in recyclable material was collected last year, compared to 53,000 tons of garbage.

Not only does it cost money per ton to put garbage in the landfill, but many refuse items don’t decompose and sit around for years, even centuries.

“Instead of putting it in a landfill and babysitting it forever, sell it,” Aho said. “It becomes a revenue.”