Montcalm County BOC approves electronic recycling fee increase

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STANTON — The cost of electronic recycling is increasing in Montcalm County — but not without debate by county officials.

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners voted 6-2 to approve an electronic recycling cost increase from 25 cents per pound to 62 cents per pound. The rate was increased for the county by Comprenew in Grand Rapids, so the cost is being passed on to consumers. Electronic recycling remains available at the health department in Stanton now through March 29 via appointment by calling (989) 831-3635. — DN file photo

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners on Monday voted 6-2 to approve a recommendation by the county’s Economic Development & Physical Resources Committee on Dec. 3 to approve an electronic recycling cost increase from 25 cents per pound to 62 cents per pound.

Comprenew in Grand Rapids increased Montcalm County’s electronic recycling rate effective Nov. 15, so the cost is being passed on to consumers.

Comprenew President Scott VanderKooy previously told the Daily News the logistical costs of recycling have increased “dramatically” throughout the United States since the start of 2018. He said Comprenew lost 32 cents per pound in residential recycling throughout 2018, but they didn’t increase prices on municipalities until the contracts expired.

VanderKooy explained Montcalm County is considered mostly a “residential stream” of electronic recycling, as opposed to a “corporate stream.” Residential recycling weighs more than corporate recycling due to a large amount of cathode ray tubes (CRTs) from old televisions and outdated computers. Corporate recycling is mostly comprised of flatscreen technology — such as laptop computers, desktop computers and networking gear — most of which still have value.

Commissioner Ron Baker of Howard City was against approving the cost increase.

“It seems to me that there should be other places that might offer a better deal,” he said. “I think more research should go into this situation and I think we should look for some other places. I think we need a better deal because I don’t think people will come up with that kind of money. The stuff will just go in the dump or the garage or whatever. I don’t agree with that at all.”

“If you want to recycle your electronics, that’s the price you have to pay, or you have to dump them in your trash,” noted Commissioner Tom Lindeman of Greenville, who is a member of the county’s Solid Waste Management Committee.

“Passing this for 62 cents is the only thing we have right now,” agreed Commissioner Ron Retzloff of Evergreen Township, regarding the county’s limited options.

“If we get somebody to throw out a refrigerator near my house, we can have a man cave — somebody else already dumped a couch over there,” Commissioner Patrick Q. Carr of Lakeview dryly observed to laughter from his colleagues and the audience.

Baker said residents in Morley can currently dispose of their electronics “for free;” however, Commissioner Betty Kellenberger of Carson City said someone is certainly paying for this service, likely Mecosta County.

Commissioners voted 6-2 to approve the electronic recycling cost increase, with Baker and Carr voting “no” and Commissioner Tom Porter of Coral absent.

Commissioners also voted 8-0 to approve a letter from the Mid-Michigan District Health Department terminating without cause the health department’s agreement with Montcalm County to provide recycling services due to a staffing shortage in the health department’s environmental health division. The last day the health department will provide recycling services to Montcalm County will be March 29.

Members of the Montcalm Conservation District has expressed interest in a shared recycling coordinator with the county and is continuing to discuss the topic.

Electronic recycling remains available at the health department in Stanton now through March 29 via appointment by calling (989) 831-3635. Visit www.mmdhd.org/recycling for more information.



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