A tire collection will take place Saturday, August 24, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Missaukee County Recycling Center, 6420 W. Sanborn Road, Lake City. Missaukee County residents can bring up to 10 tires free with a maximum size of 4’ x 12” and rims can be on. Additional tires are $2 each. The collection is paid for by a Scrap Tire Clean-up grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. This is the 18th tire collection that’s been sponsored by Missaukee Conservation District. We couldn’t do it without our amazing volunteers.
A bit of history
Recycling education has been provided since 1989 when Missaukee Soil and Water Conservation District (as it was known at that time) partnered with Wexford, Osceola, Lake and Manistee counties to provide a program through the State of Michigan Clean Michigan Fund Resource Recovery Education Grant. The program provided resource recovery, recycling and natural resource conservation information. Missaukee Area Recyclers (MAR), a volunteer group, took over the program in 1990 and operated it in various ways for several years. Without the passion of volunteers in previous years, recycling would most likely not be taking place.
Recycling began at the Lake City Garage on Beeler Road in 1993, followed by recycling both out of the back of a truck and in a semi-trailer on the corner of Russell and Houghton streets. At some point recycling moved to Sanborn Road. Waste Management assumed management until 2003 when Missaukee and Wexford counties entered into an agreement to combine the programs.
At some point the county asked townships to assist with paying the property’s insurance. The cost was estimated to be $6200 per year and charged to townships based on the U.S. Census township population. For example, according to the 2010 Census, Lake Township has 18.85% of Missaukee County’s population so they would be asked to pay 18.85% of $6200. In 2017 Missaukee Conservation District obtained an insurance quote and the cost dropped to $1362 per year. All Missaukee County townships have been generous enough to contribute to this cost.
In 2007, Commissioners were going to cut the recycling program due to budget shortfalls (180 tons collected in 2007). A $5 per visit charge was imposed beginning January 2008 and recycling dropped dramatically (89 tons in 2008). Recycling took place with the only building being a “warming shed” — only 40-yard roll-offs were available for holding the recyclables. The $5 charge discontinued in May 2008 when the first load of recyclables was sold.
In 2008, Missaukee Conservation District received an anonymous donation of $32,656 to construct a building for the Recycling Center. Notification was received on Earth Day April 2009 that the USDA Rural Development Solid Waste Management grant was awarded to the Missaukee Conservation District effective October 1, 2009 for operations of the Recycling Center and a Household Hazardous Waste collection. The building was erected, and a baler was obtained for $1500. USDA RD Grants were received for fiscal years 2009 through 2019 and Household Hazardous Waste collections took place every year. A second baler was leased from Best Trash for $1 per year in 2010 and was eventually purchased.
When Missaukee Conservation District became re-involved, the Recycling Center used three semi-trailers for storage and roll-offs from Waste Management in an open field to recycle and paid to have product hauled away.
In 2012 the Missaukee County Commissioners established a Special Fund for proceeds received from sale of materials. Until that time all monies went into the General Fund.
What’s happening now and next year
In 2019, there is a 36’ x 40’ x 16’ building with two loading docks; skid steer with bucket, forks and grapple; three balers; three-phase electricity; hand pallet jack; small storage shed and eight semi-trailers for storage. Visits number 1100-1250 per month. A total of 6.6 million pounds have been recycled since 2008.
The Recycling Special Fund is currently used for equipment and site maintenance. For fiscal year 2020, as the USDA grant was not received the fund will be also be used to continue recycling operations. There will not be a household hazardous waste in June 2020 unless funds are located. While the grant will be applied for again, Missaukee County will be seeking most stable funding in fiscal year 2020.
Management of materials has improved, and the facility is being utilized more than ever before. Income has dropped significantly due to the “Chinese Sword.” China cut off all recyclables a few years ago and this has made the market extremely challenging. Product is now worth much less than what it was even a few years ago. Cardboard was worth $165/ton several years ago; this month it’s $25/ton.
The Missaukee County Recycling Center is open Wednesday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Tuesday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day and is open to anyone from any county. It is currently staffed by four paid employees with an occasional court-ordered Community Service being present. We accept #1 to #5 container shaped plastics, #7 container shaped plastics, newspaper, office paper, shredded paper, cardboard, vinyl siding, metals of all types, Styrofoam egg cartons, books, magazines, and our new addition-bottle shaped glass.
Cardboard, paper and #1 plastics are sold to companies in Michigan; other plastics are sold to a company in Canada. Vinyl siding is recycled in Dowagiac. Glass is taken to American Waste, Traverse City, to be used for the landfill roads and vapor barrier because there is no market in Michigan for glass recycling.
Sherry Blaszak is the District Manager for the Missaukee Conservation District. For more information about recycling, volunteering, programs and partnerships, contact Sherry by phone at 231-839-7193, by email at email@example.com, or stop by the Missaukee Conservation District Office at 6180 W. Sanborn Road, Lake City.