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Recycling Wars: Huntington Woods and Hazel Park are Neck and Neck

Both cities have seen a 12 percent increase in recycling since the start of their competition at the beginning of the month.

Good competition always has a way of spurring on participation, and that appears to be the case in the going on this month.

The cities have both seen a 12 percent increase in their recycling tonnage compared with the same period last year, according to Claire Galed, manager of the Huntington Woods Department of Public Works.

“My residents thrive on competition and I’m really pleased that Hazel Park is keeping up with us,” Galed said. “I think it is a tribute to their efforts and that they are pushing recycling as much as we are.”

Galed said the fact that the cities are tied is significant because while Huntington Woods is the recycling leader of the 12 communities in the Southeastern Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority (SOCRRA), Hazel Park is last.

“Both of (cities) are working hard to get our residents to recycle,” Galed said. “When people call me about any sort of issue I remind them to recycle before I let them go.”

In the three Huntington Woods recycling collections this month, the city averaged 37,860 pounds, which was up from 33,620 pounds per week in May 2011. In the two Hazel Park collections (Hazel Park collects on Mondays, Huntington Woods does its collection on Tuesday and May 1 was a Tuesday), the city averaged 22,517 pounds, which was up from 20,020 per week the previous year.

Because it’s the overall percentage increase that's measured in the competition the cities are therefore tied.

“It’s kind of fun to both be at 12 percent,” Galed said. “Hazel Park should feel very proud. I just hope they can keep it up.”

Meanwhile, Galed said Huntington Woods is gearing up for the national recycling competition in July because the winning city gets a “green grant” of $100,000.

“That one is based on percentage of participation not tonnage,” she explained. “Fortunately, when my residents know a competition is going on their participation goes up and up and up.”

Galed also wouldn’t mind if other communities challenged each other to similar recycling wars. “Competitions are just fun and I would be glad if we passed it on to other cities,” she said. “Especially since recycling is such an important endeavor.”

The Huntington Woods versus Hazel Park challenge goes through the end of May when a winner will be crowned.

“I’m looking forward to see how we all end up,” Galed said. “It’s obviously too close to call right now.”

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