Landfill authority approves moving forward with recycling project

Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority Director Brad Austin talks about operational improvements and recycling goals during a recent tour of the facility. (Journal photo by Lisa Bowers)

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority on Wednesday agreed to continue a partnership with Resource Recycling Systems to move forward with a recycling project that entails changing the county’s dual-stream system to single-stream.

“We’re moving forward with the consultant,” MCSWMA Director Brad Austin said. “The next phase of the project, we’re trying to secure financing.”

The authority approved a contract of roughly $70,000 with the environmental consulting and engineering firm RRS.

Currently, residents of the Marquette County Landfill’s constituent municipalities participate in dual-stream recycling, in which pickup schedules alternate each week between fiber materials, such as paper, and rigids, like plastics and metals. A single-stream model would allow all types of recyclable material to be picked up every week.

According to board documents, the MCSWMA has prepared design documents and received civil and equipment quotes to transition the landfill to single-stream recycling capability. RRS will support the authority in all final planning and implementation of the project.

“The project will provide technical assistance in securing needed funding, identifying the necessary schedule, preparing initial promotion and education tasks and acquiring incoming recyclable tonnage for this improvement project,” the documents state.

Authority staff and RRS have worked collectively on the project for seven months.

“Together, we have brought this project to a near ‘shovel ready’ status,” Austin said in a letter to the board. “Timely funding opportunities in the form of grants and/or other loans may be available. It is imperative that we stay engaged with RRS in order to secure any and all funding available.”

In December, the MCSWMA invited officials of municipalities and area residents to a special meeting at the Ishpeming Township Hall to discuss the results of a feasibility study related to transitioning toward a single-stream system.

J.D. Lindeberg, a principal at RRS, said the county recycling facility would need equipment and building improvements to handle a single-stream system, which could cost around $5 million to $6 million. Lindeberg said the authority could ask voters to approve a millage to retain money, request a bank loan or ask for marketplace support.

Since glass has been placed in the landfill for over five years — causing concern from numerous residents, Lindeberg also noted there are opportunities to consider glass as a separate add-on recyclable material.

A more complete story will be in this Monday’s Journal.

Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.