New partnership will improve recycling in Farmington, Hills

Mike Csapo recycling
RRRASOC Director Mike Csapo is pictured with a load of recyclables. (RRRASOC)

The Resource Recovery and Recycling Authority of Southwest Oakland County (RRRASOC) has joined with the Michigan Dept. of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), and The Recycling Partnership, a national nonprofit, on a project that will help Farmington area residents recycle more, better.

RRRASOC, a municipal solid waste authority, represents a population of more than 284,000 residents in Farmington, Farmington Hills, Milford, Milford Township, Novi, South Lyon, Southfield, Walled Lake, and Wixom.

The Recycling Partnership, with special support from the Saginaw-based, woman-owned small business Iris Waste Diversion Specialists, is leading the RRRASOC effort in a first-of-its-kind project involving RRRASOC’s public drop-off recycling facility in Novi and its Southfield processing facility.

The goal is to evaluate the character and quality of the material being recycled, increase recycling, and reduce contamination. This will improve safety for recycling workers, improve processing efficiency, and improve overall product value.

“We’re excited about the partnership with TRP and EGLE because we know better recycling is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do,” RRRASOC General Manager Mike Csapo said in a press release. “Recycling correctly not only reduces the need for landfills in southeast Michigan, but creates and supports jobs and protects the environment.”

The $2.1 million project is launching with more than $800,000 in grants to 14 recycling programs in Michigan this year that serve more than 300,000 households statewide, including 74,000 households in southwest Oakland County.

The initiative aligns with EGLE’s national award-winning “Know It Before You Throw It” recycling education campaign featuring the Recycling Raccoon Squad. The campaign is promoting best practices and emphasizes that recycling materials saves energy, reduces water use, decreases greenhouse gases, conserves resources, and translates into local jobs, with the aim of increasing Michigan’s recycling rate to 30 percent by 2025.

“We know southwest Oakland County residents want to recycle the right way,” Csapo said. “By building on Michigan’s Know It Before Your Throw It campaign, we are providing our residents with the education and tools necessary to keep valuable resources from being wasted.”

“We are eager to be working with RRRASOC and EGLE to capture more quality recyclables that can be transformed into raw materials, creating a healthier and less wasteful planet and a stronger healthier community,” said Jill Martin, Director of Community Programs at The Recycling Partnership. “We know from experience that educating residents to recycle the correct way is key to creating and sustaining successful drop-off recycling programs for communities in southwest Oakland County.”

The new research and education activities come as Michigan and states across the U.S. are seeing significant increases in the volume of curbside recycling due to more Americans sheltering and working from home to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

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