Livonia City Council hears proposal for new 'soft recycling' option

RecyclingMonster - Could Livonia residents have a way to easily dispose of old clothing, blankets and shoes in the coming future? A recent proposal to the city council would bring such a service to the city.

A contract proposal came before the city council during its July 22 study meeting. The proposal would bring Ohio-based Simple Recycling into Livonia at no charge, which would pick up bags of soft recyclable materials on residents' designated trash days. The company would collect the materials and determine their future depending on their quality, and would pay the city $20/ton collected.

Much like other trash pickup services, using such a service would be optional if approved.

"Residents will, of course, still have the option to not use this service," said Jacob Rushlow, superintendent of public service for the city. "They are more than welcome to donate to any charitable organization they currently do or would continue to like to do in the future."

Those charitable donations were an issue for Councilman Scott Bahr, who said he was intrigued by the idea and didn't see a downside, but originally had concerns that local organizations may miss out on donations they would normally receive.

"I would think it would have a downward impact on that," he said. "On one hand, it's another outlet for people for this, which I think is a good thing. Less waste is a good thing. But I'd be a little concerned if there is a huge drop in charitable donations."

Sonny Wilkins, vice president of Simple Recycling, said their research shows charitable donations aren't typically affected when they come into a community and offer their services.

"If you're a supporter of a local organization, whatever that organization may be, typically those people are doing it because they want to benefit that organization," he said. "They'll typically continue that normal behavior."

Several surrounding communities already use this service, Wilkins said, including Canton, Garden City, Milford Township, South Lyon and White Lake.

Possible issues surrounding recycling

Councilwoman Kathleen McIntyre said she thought it was a good idea, but suggested going with a two-year contract over the proposed four-year contract, since she was unsure how the program would be received in the community and did not want to commit long-term to something if it wouldn't work out for the city.

She said it could lead to trash-pickers going through bags, as well as the "sloppiness" people have when it comes to throwing things into recycling containers. She said it's difficult currently to get residents to better understand what can be put in recycling bins now, and worries that same problem would continue with the soft material recycling program.

"We hear a lot of complaints ... because the recycling bins are not used properly," she said. "My concern is — and some of the other communities have had this experience — the bags aren't tied up and you end up with a mess of wet clothes on the curb on recycling day."

Wilkins said the company has not had an issue with litter or clutter in the communities in the last several years and did not believe it would be an issue. Items would be attempted to be reused here in the United States, then internationally and then recycled into a different material if it cannot be used domestically or internationally.

Rushlow said the administration requested a four-year contract to allow Simple Recycling time to recoup its costs in setting up the program and coming into the community.

"That's why it was presented as a four-year initial term," he said.

The council will take the issue up at its next regular meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m., Aug. 12.

Councilman Brandon Kritzman said he hopes using such a service would help residents recycle items properly instead of throwing them into bins incorrectly.

"I think this will actually alleviate some of the stress on that," Kritzman said. "I had the same thought about our own recycling program. As much as we try to educate people on what is acceptable materials to throw out and ... what is not acceptable to throw in the recycling bins, I see it all the time, things that shouldn't be in there."

Courtesy :