Single-stream recycling begins in Marquette County

The single-stream collection looks to save landfill space and room in your home.
Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 3:45 PM EST
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SANDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - For most recycling in the U.P., plastics get collected one week and paper the next.

Those days are over in Marquette County, under the new single-stream system. The single collection looks to save landfill space and room in your home.

It’s a new wave of recycling in the county – planned to eventually expand throughout the Upper Peninsula.

Single-stream recycling with a unique purpose in separating glass materials.

“[In] a typical single-stream system, you’ll see it together but in order for us to deal with that material most effectively, we ask residents to keep [glass] separate from the single stream bin,” said Operations Director Bradley Austin of the Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority.

A new automated system is in play for paper, plastic and metal at the Sands Township facility.

“We’ve got a robot sorting plastic. We have the ability to program that robot to grab the materials we want it to grab. And it’s all about the separation of the commodities. The value of those materials increase,” Austin said.

It’s a system the operations director said will manage materials more effectively and in the process moving forward with the state of Michigan’s goal to increase recycling rates overall.

“Really, we want to extend the life of the facility as long as we can. I mean, what people have to understand is if you place material in the landfill it can’t come out. Here’s an opportunity to place it in a curbside bin and have us take it to its most useful life,” said Austin.

Glass is collected separately and processed in its own two-building center in the facility.

Collected residential glass delivered by hauler trucks is conveyed to the processor known as the Andela Trommel--repurposing glass into aggregate and sand products.

“We’ll sand the roads and certainly some landscaping or possible drainage project opportunities with the aggregate. But even further down the road, we’ve been working with Michigan Tech the past year looking at opportunities to bring this material into the concrete and asphalt industry,” said Austin.

The operations director explained that more glass received leads to more opportunities to create useful products locally in the future.

It’s all a process that begins most importantly with Marquette County residents.

For more information on the recycling program, including acceptable and non-acceptable items, check out the Recycle 906 Recycling Guide.

This is Part One of a mini-series on recycling. Check out Part Two here.

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