Local Government Story

This was written for my JRN 300 class in October 2009.

These days it seems like “green” is the new black. Everything from notebooks to purses to shoes is being marketed as eco-friendly. But Delta Township was recycling before it was cool.

Delta Township has been running the Delta Township Recycling Center since 1998, said Delta Township Trustee Jefferey Hicks, who is on Delta Township’s Utility and Environmental Board Committee. Hicks and fellow trustees Barb Poma and Cara Spagnuolo, along with Township Clerk Janice Vedder, help oversee the recycling center and Delta Township’s other environmental programs.

“Delta Township is a strong believer in its greener Delta and sustainability initiatives,” said Hicks. “Offering recycling services was seen as a natural extension of the township’s existing environmental philosophy.”

According to Hicks, resident response to the recycling program has been extremely positive. The recycling program is offered as a free service to all Delta Township residents. In addition to being environmental and economical, the program is also maintenance friendly. Hicks said residents have reported an almost 50 percent reduction in trash.

The recycling center is opened to residents on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays in the morning and early afternoon. The center accepts donations of number one and two plastic, paper, metals, glass, ink cartridges polystyrene (the material used in razors, CD cases and disposable foam coolers), compact florescent light bulbs, bicycles, wire, fencing and box board. The center also accepts yard waste from April until November.

As far as recycling, Delta Township officials want to make sure they have all of their bases covered. So, the township has partnered with the Mid-Michigan Wood Recycling Receiving Yard. There, residents can recycle tree limbs, stumps, pallets, brush, branches, sawdust, construction wood and wood chips, said a spokesperson for the company. Since the Mid-Michigan Wood Recycling Receiving Yard is a for-profit business, residents do have to pay a nominal fee to donate their materials.

Other than wood recycling, the recycling program and recycling center are funded in the township’s annual budget as a General Fund expenditure. The program, which is budgeted to receive $82,000 in the township’s 2010 budget, is currently not facing any cuts, said Delta Charter Township Finance Director Jeff Anderson.

“General Fund revenues are generated from multiple sources including licenses and permits, fees, investment income, taxes, state revenue sharing and other sources,” Hicks said.

Delta Township is committed to providing citizens with ways to be eco-friendly in their everyday lives, and the government doesn’t stop at recycling. For example, Hicks said Delta Township District Library recently received a silver L.E.E.D. rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, largely because of the material used in the construction of the building. Delta Township’s Utility Department is also part of their environmental program, as is has received the highest possible energy classification from the State of Michigan.

“Delta’s belief in a greener tomorrow transcends all aspects of the township’s services and planning,” said Hicks.

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