Isabella County Administrator Responds To Recycling Center Mess

“It was a mess,” says Tim Hauck, who lives near the Isabella County Recycling Center. “Enough is enough.”

A mountain of recycled debris found its way into places it just shouldn’t have been.

Neighbors to the recycling center say they are fed up.

In Isabella County, several people left their homes Monday to find lawns speckled with pieces of cardboard, plastic bags and other recyclables.

Those items came from a large pile of refuse behind the Isabella County Recycling Center on E. River Street.

“It needs to be cleaned up,” Hauck says. “What they need to do is either do it right or shut it down.”

Tim Hauck has lived near the recycling center for around a decade.

He says when he went outside on Monday, the photos he took did the talking.

“The trash consists of plastic, cardboard and it appears to be garbage but they say it is a recycling project and it’s blowing all over the yard,” Hauck says.

The trail led from his yard through the woods toward the center, ending at a large pile.

“They’ve been working diligently all day to pick the blowing around stuff up but as you can see by the mountain of garbage they had, the wind is still blowing today and as soon as they are done, the wind picks up and they’ll be right back at it again,” Hauck says.

Tim tells us he reached out to the center, which then worked to clean his property and others quickly.

But his concern continues.

“All in all, they’ve been good neighbors,” Hauck says. “It’s an industrial neighborhood, I know that. But I don’t expect the trash to be blowing around. It’s unsightly.”

“That’s not the relationship that we want to have as a county department with our neighbors who are our county constituents,” says Margaret McAvoy, Isabella County Administrator. “That’s who we serve.”

While the center’s director could not go on camera, McAvoy assured us the complaints haven’t fallen on deaf ears.

“Sometimes during the year, you have more product,” McAvoy says. “Sometimes during the year, you have less product. We are in a situation right now where we are having and receiving a lot of product, which is very good for recycling purposes. However, it sometimes causes a backlog all through the production facility.”

She says the production is normally a good thing for the center, financially, but this time, it got out of hand.

“Fortunately, we are lucky to have extra product,” McAvoy says. “Unfortunately, it hasn’t gotten through the system fast enough to get it processed.”

So, the county is acting fast.

“We are in a position right now where we have stuff backlogged of product outside,” McAvoy says. “What we’ve decided to do is to hire eight more processors through our manpower contract. They are going to start Thursday. We are going to open our facility up rather than seven and a half hours a day to ten hours a day and we are going to work a couple of Saturdays. We’ll get that mountain reduced and taken care of.”

She says the need to enforce its policies will also be reviewed for the future.

“We have a policy of making sure that the facility is picked up, that the grounds are picked up. It got a little ahead of the staff,” McAvoy says. “We apologize to the neighborhood.”