Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

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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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