Huntington Woods and Hazel Park are engaging in a little trash talking this month as the two cities compete to see which increases its recycling rate the most by the end of May.
Huntington Woods is the leader among the 12 communities in the Southeastern Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority (SOCRRA) when it comes to recycling. Hazel Park is last.
"The idea behind it is to encourage more recycling in SOCRRA," said Claire Galed, public works manager for Huntington Woods.
Last year, Huntington Woods recovered 92 percent of its recycling costs, meaning it nearly absorbed the cost of recycling with all the money it was saving, Galed said, and it was saving a great deal more than if it trashed everything. Its recyclables collection cost was $52,661, offset by a rebate from SOCRRA of $26,010 and it avoided disposal costs of $22,542.
Hazel Park, a city with three times the population of Huntington Woods, earned $14,430 in rebates on recyclables from SOCRRA against the $144,072 SOCRRA was paid for the city's recyclables. Hazel Park’s benefit as a percentage of collection costs was just 18 percent.
The other SOCRRA communities are Berkley, Beverly Hills, Birmingham, Clawson, Ferndale, Lathrup Village, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak and Troy. The more those cities improve their recycling, the more everyone benefits, because the rebate grows with the number of recyclables SOCRRA has to sell.
Galed said Huntington Woods has been working with Hazel Park to help it boost its numbers. "I love recycling," she said, "and it's good for SOCRRA and us."
Huntington Woods' recycling numbers are up significantly since the successful launch of a single-stream recycling program last October. The program provided all city residents with new recycling carts that allow them to skip the step of sorting.
"Single-stream recycling is going phenomenally," Galed said. "We're up an average of 18-20 percent since we started."
The competition begins today with Hazel Park's collections; Huntington Woods' collections are Tuesdays.
"We're hoping they give Huntington Woods a run for our money," Galed said.