Letters

Letters 09-15-2014

Stop The Games On Campus

Four head coaches – two at U of M and two at MSU – get a total of $13 million of your taxpayer dollars each year. Their staffs get another $11 million...

The Truth About Fatbikes

While we appreciate the fatbike trail coverage, the quote from the article below is exactly what we demonstrated not to be true in most cases last season...

Man Has Environmental Responsibility

I tend to agree with Thomas Kachadurian (“Playing God,” Sept. 8) that we should not interfere with the power of nature by deciding what is “native” and what is not. Man usually does what is better for man (or so we believe), hence the survival and population growth of our species...

The Bush & Obama Facts

Don Turner’s letter to the editor on 8/25/14 stated that there has never been a more corrupt, dishonest, etc. set of politicians in the White House. He states no facts, but here are a few...

Ban Pesticides

I grew up downstate in a neighborhood without pesticides. I was always very healthy. Living here, I have become ill. So I did my research and found out a lot about these poison agents called pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers, etc) that are being spread throughout this community, accumulating in our air, water and soil...

Respect for Presidents?

Recently we read the Letter to the Editor that encouraged us to stop characterizing President Obama as anything other than an upstanding, moral, inspiring “first Black President”. The author would have us think that the rancor in the press, media and public is misguided. And, believe it or not, this rancor is a “glaring exception to … unwritten patriotic rule” of historically supporting all previous presidents...


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RECYCLING: It’s All in the Details

Recycling used to be so black and white … literally.

Kristi Kates - July 21st, 2014  


Going green just meant recycling newspapers, with glass and aluminum a close second and third.

With practically everything recyclable now, being a responsible recycler can be a bit of a buzz kill on your Up North getaway.

To help clarify, a few of Northern Michigan’s biggest recyclers gave us the lowdown on what to throw down those bins.

SO MANY QUESTIONS

Paper, metal, glass … so easy to sort, most of us recycle these automatically.

Plastic, on the other hand, throws a wrench in what’s obvious and what’s not.

Different recycling facilities take various types of plastics, numbers 1-7 plastics being the most common.

Grocery bags? Bread wrappers? Egg cartons? Drink boxes? Shrink wrap? It’s all up to the recycler.

And that’s only the beginning.

If there’s an item in question, the easiest way to find out what to do is to call the local facility and ask. Some of them even have hotlines.

ROLLING RECYCLING

Jayna Steffel works at the Emmet County Recycling Center in Harbor Springs, which also serves Petoskey and the surrounding area.

Those without curbside recycling service can still recycle, she said.

“We and other companies have what’s called ‘roll-offs’ - they’re like an enclosed dumpster - at lots of locations that are open to the public,” she said. “In Harbor Springs, ours are by the IGA; in Petoskey, they’re by D&W Market north, and Bed Bath and Beyond south. These are more than okay for the public to bring their recycling to.”

The most recycled item at the facility is corrugated cardboard.

“So many people are getting things shipped directly to their homes now,” Steffel said.

Electronics, though not obvious, can also be recycled. “Computers, old cell phones, appliances, and TVs … these are all recyclable, too,” she said.

CHANGING WASTE

Styrofoam, which often arrives right along with that overload of corrugated cardboard boxes, is another tricky material as far as recycling goes.

“Styrofoam is a raw form of plastic called polystyrene, and to truly recycle it, it has to be melted down into plastic beads,” said Steffel. “We don’t have the capabilities to do that, and we don’t accept Styrofoam because the place we would have to send it away to incinerates it, and that’s not recycling.”

The best thing to do with Styrofoam, Steffel said, is to contact a shipping company to see if they will take if off of your hands.

“From what I understand, Styrofoam packing peanuts are expensive, so it makes sense to see if they can be reused,” she said.

Before doing anything, check to see if the packing peanuts are made out of cornstarch, a biodegradable substance, Steffel said.

“[Run] a few of the peanuts under water,” Steffel said. “If they’re cornstarch, they should dissolve immediately, and you can just run them down your drain.”

DOS AND DON’TS

Traverse City’s American Waste takes care of recycling needs in the Grand Traverse region, east to Gaylord, north to the Charlevoix area, and west to Suttons Bay.

American Waste’s general manager, Mark Bevelhymer, said that he thinks better recycling awareness has to start with better recycling education.

“With all of our customers, we always send them a marketing piece that outlines recycling procedures,” he said. “People just need to be really aware of what they can and cannot do as far as recycling.”

That, he said, will enable them to be more efficient recyclers.

Once the “dos” are figured out, though, potential recyclers are left with the “don’ts,” of which there’s yet another lengthy list.

Bevelhymer said there are some major don’ts as far as American Waste is concerned.

“We can’t recycle rubber products such as tires, any household paints, or light bulbs,” he said. “These are considered hazardous, and must be recycled at a household hazardous materials center.”

COMPUTERS TO BICYCLES

In addition to local recycling centers, Goodwill locations are another great place to bring computers, as they offer free recycling.

Goodwill is also well known as the perfect destination for unused clothing, furnishings, and kitchen items.

But if it’s a bicycle you’re not sure what to do with, Traverse City’s Don Cunkle can help.

Cunkle is the director of TC’s Recyclea-Bicycle, which, in cooperation with the Traverse Area Recreational Trails program, saves bikes and helps people in the process.

Recycle-a-Bicycle will take “any bicycle that’s brought through the door,” Cunkle said.

If they can’t fix the bicycle back to working order, they’ll use parts from it to repair other bikes.

“It can take anywhere from one to 10 hours to refurbish a bicycle,” Cunkle said. “If it’s unfixable, we’ll take anything good from it – the chain, seat, pedals – and use it for parts, sending the leftover metals, such as steel or aluminum, to a metals recycler.”

The effort’s worth it, he said, because Recycle-a-Bicycle’s work can actually change lives. The organization give away 150 bikes or more each year, for free, to the homeless or financially disadvantaged.

 
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