Most areas that have a large amount of residents interested in recycling work hard to focus on getting a curbside program, but Calhoun County doesn’t let that stop them from contributing in the meantime. When it comes to recycling in Calhoun County, these residents take great community pride in supporting local businesses, so when their local hauler is unable to offer curbside recycling they put all their energy into the drop off centers.
Calhoun County has five recycling drop off centers. Two of these are staffed and open three days a week. The other three are not staffed and open only one weekend a month. These three non staffed centers, combined, collected 118.31 tons of single stream recyclables in 2017. That is very impressive for only being open one weekend a month. Calhoun County also has many collection events throughout the year to help make recycling more available if people are unable to go directly to the drop off centers with something. This includes four scrap tire collections, four household hazardous waste collections, Styrofoam collections, and a large Recyclerama event.
Over the year, three of the household hazardous waste collections, that were only two hours each, received over 46,000 pounds of waste. The fourth household hazardous waste collection is a part of the Recyclerama event that also includes electronic, appliance, and Styrofoam collection. 2017 was one of Calhoun County’s biggest Recyclerama events. Over the four hours, they were able to collect 87,000 pounds of material, 8,500 appliances, 1,560 pounds of cardboard, 5,313 pounds of electronics, over 22,000 pounds of household hazardous waste, 645 pounds of Styrofoam, and even 246 eyeglasses. This is an incredible turn out and an amazing amount of material that otherwise would have gone into the landfill.
When you have an event this big, you must wonder how in the world it became so successful. The partnership that Calhoun County has with Battle Creek has really made the difference. When Battle Creek has an event to collect electronics, most people bring them in with the box full of Styrofoam. Their partnership allows them to collect the Styrofoam at these events, which really makes a difference. The largest collection for Styrofoam at Battle Creek was over 850 pounds. To get the word out they focus on social media posts and press releases to keep people informed. They even had a marketing specialist come in and advise them not to advertise anymore for the event because Calhoun County would not be able to support the growth.
For Calhoun County it really has a lot to do with the residents and their passion to put that effort in and recycle. Calhoun County knows how important educating residents is. They are working hard to grow towards access to curbside recycling and getting people to understand the market, even though they do not spend a lot on education and outreach. They do what they can for the community as a whole and the mini grants they offer, to help clubs do river clean ups or buy recycle containers, are a perfect example of this. Calhoun County is a community that sticks together and everyone is working hard to do whatever they can to help each other achieve their recycling goals.