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E-M:/ Recycling in Flint Update
Enviro-Mich message from AuntScarey@aol.com
I am very sorry about not getting this update to you sooner. I was just
simply burned out (and I'm still a little crispy around the edges.) I just
spent last week and a half finishing up my masters thesis, so now I can
return to troublemaking again, tee hee! So here's what's happening in
Curbside Recycling in Flint: Donít Drop the Bin!
Curbside Recycling is a key issue in the upcoming mayoral race in
Flint, thanks to Nepessing Group Sierra Club activists. On June 17 we
sponsored a community forum at Mott Community College as experts discussed
workable solutions for making curbside recycling a reality in Flint. About
100 attended the forum and submitted questions that indicate people are not
only ready for their local government to act, they are growing impatient.
Panelists included David Ready, City of Flint Administrator; Jim
Frey, Director of Resource Recycling Systems in Ann Arbor; Marty Seaman,
General Manager of Saginaw Solid Management Authority; and Mary Alyce
Stickney, a volunteer appointed to the Mayorís Recycling Advisory Committee.
Paul Rozycki, Professor of Political Science at Mott Community College,
expertly moderated the forum. We thank these guests for their generosity and
for taking serious the need for responsible use of our resources.
Administrator Ready proposed a co-mingled plan at the forum, which
other panelists discouraged, as it leads to contaminated materials that end
up in the landfill. The co-mingled plan is also extremely expensive, and Mr.
Ready provided no date for start-up, or other details. On June 29, Mike
Keeler met with Mayor Stanley to urge him to hire a consultant such as Mr.
Frey, who discussed 3,000 successful recycling programs his company has
arranged. Mike left the meeting unconvinced that the mayor will provide a
In mid-June, mayoral candidate Scott Kincaid held a press conference
to discuss his proposed curbside recycling plan, which sounds like an
efficient and cost-effective program. He recommends using a specially made
truck that would pick up recyclables on the same day yard compost is
collected. Candidate (Rep.) Vera Rison, who has indicated support for
curbside recycling, has not responded with a specific plan. Recycling is an
issue especially appropriate to the Nepessing Group of the Sierra Club, since
one-third of our members live in the City of Flint. Even those who donít
will be affected in the future by rising landfill costs.
The forum resulted from six months of work by the recycling
committee. We are now considering further actions to take. If you would
like to get involved, please call (810) 767-9904.
Volunteers distributed 500 yard signs and 2000 educational fliers,
and some even obtained donations. We went to City Council meetings, the Art
Fair, Farmerís Market, the Flintstones Parade, the City Yards, neighborhood
groups and talked one-to-one with residents. We didnít have to do much
convincing -- there is overwhelming support from residents city-wide for this
service long enjoyed by our suburban neighbors.
People responded by signing 1300 postcards to send to Mayor Stanley
and by writing letters to the editor. WJRT-TV12 interviewed us, and The
Flint Journal has published an editorial and various news stories about this
We join citizens all over the U.S. who are debating the issues of
recycling. Costs and benefits, short-term and long-term, must be considered.
The issues involve jobs, city services, use of resources and community
image. Complying with future federal mandates will be more expensive in the
long run. And no one wants an incinerator or landfill in their backyard.
People want to act responsibly, and young people are aware of the problems
they will inherit.
Similar sized cities such as Saginaw, Lansing, Warren and Ann Arbor
already enjoy successful curbside recycling. These progressive cities know
that curbside recycling is one of the small, but important quality-of-life
considerations that a city provides.
The citizens of Flint are ready. Will our city government step up to
-- Sherry Hayden
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