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SOCRRA Rolls Out New, Larger Bins, Mixed Recycling

BIRMINGHAM/BEVERLY HILLS — The rumors have been floating around for some time now, and finally the Southeastern Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority is ready to roll out new mixed recycling collection.

In the Eagle’s coverage area, Birmingham and Beverly Hills are served by SOCRRA for recycling collection. For residents in those municipalities, the most noticeable change will be the larger bins that are slated to be delivered by mid-September.

“Starting in a couple weeks, we’ll be delivering carts to all of the single-family homes in our SOCRRA communities,” said Colette Farris, organization development manager at SOCRRA, adding that residents won’t be charged for the new carts or delivery.

“There was a grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Recycling Partnership to be able to assist with the cost of these carts,” she said.

The Recycling Partnership is a national nonprofit aimed at promoting recycling as a necessity for healthy environments. It awarded a grant to SOCRRA to purchase more than 100,000 carts for residents in the authority’s 12 service communities. To get those funds, SOCRRA had to prove that southeast Michigan is dedicated to recycling at a higher rate than the current bins allow.

“So far, for the period of July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017, SOCRRA communities recycled 19,588 tons of material, (or) 39,177,000 pounds,” Farris said. “The goal is to increase that number to 32,000 tons over the next couple of years with the implementation of cart-based mixed recycling.”

The idea of the cart, Farris said, is to make recycling comparable to trash disposal for residents. The new 65-gallon bins will have wheels for easy hauling to the curb, and lids to keep out critters and other natural elements, like the weather.

“(The carts) will be great for enhancing the already-terrific recycling efforts in Birmingham,” said Lauren Wood, director of public services. “It’s a priority for our community, and this opportunity will foster the growth in the recycling numbers.”

Wood said the city will assist SOCRRA in cart distribution by providing the most up-to-date address information available for deliveries.

As residents enjoy their bigger and better bins, SOCRRA is working hard to get its Material Recovery Facility to be able to process mixed recycling. That means users will no longer have to separate their recyclable materials, like paper, plastic, glass and metal.

“This new technique means all recyclable items can go in the same cart. Today, (it operates as) dual stream, which means cardboard and newspaper must be collected separate from all other approved recycling material at the curbside,” explained Wood.

“With the new mixed recycling program, it will be just as easy for residents to recycle these materials as it is to throw them away,” said Chris Wilson, Beverly Hills village administrator. “We’re confident that the new carts will be very popular with residents and a positive addition to our community.”

Farris said that while SOCRRA won’t be able to track the process of cart deliveries on a home or even street-by-street basis, residents can see what percentage of each city has been brought new carts by visiting www.socrra.org.