Facebook – GFL recycling practices questioned on Commerce residents’ Facebook page
A topic trending on the Commerce Township Residents Facebook page highlights concerns folks have about GFL Environmental USA Inc.’s recycling practices. Some feel that their curbside recycling isn’t actually being recycled, and others claim to have seen one truck collect both their regular trash and recycling in one truck.
Posted one visitor to the Facebook page: “Not sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me but I thought I saw the trash pickup this morning throwing the recycle and trash into the same truck at the same time. Anyone notice that? Township supervisor are you paying attention? Not what we are being taxed for!”
Commerce Township Supervisor Larry Gray said, “We’ve had one call in reference to GFL trucks picking up both recycling and trash. We called GFL to inquire about this concern. They stated this has/is not happening. If citizens are seeing this, if they could take a picture, it would be great. Otherwise, it’s a he said she said thing and we have no proof to argue their point for them.”
Joseph Munem, director of government affairs with GFL, explained that in some Commerce Township neighborhoods, with narrow streets, it’s common for GFL to send one dual compartment truck for trash and recycling so it may look like both are being placed in one truck. “This can be a point of confusion when folks see that,” he said. “However, I am not completely discounting that residents may have indeed seen what they are claiming, and if that’s the case, anyone should feel free to contact me with the truck number, time of day, and street name where the incident occurred.”
Another resident expressed concern that both the recycling and regular trash trucks take their hauls to the same place, writing on the Facebook page: “It goes to the same landfill because no one wants to buy our recycling right now. It’s been this way for a while. The two trucks are basically just an illusion.”
In response, Patrick Durham, a sales representative with GFL, said: “The recycling and waste removal services are being picked up by two separate trucks. The residential recycling goes to one of our plants here in Michigan, which we have several, and gets recycled at Pontiac, New Boston or Warren, and our commercial locations are being recycled at these plants, as well as Royal Oak and Romulus.”
But Munem admitted that not everything placed in a recycle cart actually gets recycled and does wind up in a landfill.
“Over the past few years, China decided not to accept recycling that didn’t meet its contamination threshold of .5 percent,” he explained. “This contamination is a product of single-stream recycling whereby residents are responsible for cleaning out recycled items before placing them in the recycling cart. The tiniest bit of contaminant can spoil much of a truckload and it all winds up in a landfill. We sort everything placed at the curb for recycling and recover all that we can possibly recycle, but a significant portion just cannot be.”
GFL has a state-of-the-art Material Recycling Facility in New Boston and is expanding its capacity to sort recyclables. “The G in our name means green and we take recycling seriously,” said Munem.
Gray’s advice to residents who have concerns is to go to the Commerce Township website (www.commercetwp.com), select ‘refuse collection,’ select ‘click here,’ and make a complaint directly to GFL. “Additionally, if citizens are seeing these events occur, please send us pictures so we can investigate.”
To contact Joseph Munem, call 586-354-2352 or send an email to [email protected]