As Ann Arbor officials consider a new contract to haul the city’s recyclables to a Lansing facility just over 60 miles away, the Sierra Club and others are urging the city to instead fix up and reopen Ann Arbor’s own recycling plant, the Materials Recovery Facility off Platt Road. The message is simple: “Fix our MRF,” said Dan Ezekiel, chairman of the Sierra Club’s Huron Valley Group in Ann Arbor.
City staff is instead recommending City Council approve an $11.2-million, five-year contract with Flint-based Emterra Environmental USA Corp., a division of Canadian firm Emterra Group. City Council will vote on it Monday night, Dec. 2. If approved, the city would start using Emterra’s new single-stream recycling plant slated to open in Lansing in June 2020.
The city’s hauling contract with Recycle Ann Arbor, a local nonprofit that started Michigan’s first curbside recycling program here in 1978, expires June 30. The Emterra contract would take effect July 1, starting at $2.16 million for fiscal year 2020-21 and increasing to $2.34 million by 2024-25, with an option to renew it another five years.
Recycle Ann Arbor is protesting the move, arguing it deserves the contract. The nonprofit has proposed reopening the city’s recycling plant with the help of state grant funding and says it has invested over a year completing a plan to do so.
Emterra’s plan to truck recyclables to Lansing for the next several years is contrary to the city’s declaration of a climate emergency and the city’s goal to be carbon-neutral by 2030, Recycle Ann Arbor argued in a formal protest letter to the city.