Are there other options for Three Rivers residents wanting curbside recycling? We asked around.

Many Three Rivers residents lost access to curbside recycling services following the recent discontinuation of Michiana Recycling and Disposal’s recycling program effective March 31. The change in offered services came after the company was purchased by Lakeshore Recycling Services (LRS). 

The company announced the change in a statement on the Michiana website. “As part of our recent acquisition of Michiana Recycling and Disposal Services, LRS is proud to introduce an improved curbside recycling program in select communities. Residents in these communities will receive a new 95-gallon cart for recycling materials. Collection will continue every other week on your current waste collection day.” The “select communities” include Cassopolis, Colon, and Baroda, leaving Michiana customers living in Three Rivers ineligible to receive carts for recycling purposes. 

(Photo from Michiana’s Facebook page)

When asked for details regarding the end of recycling for Three Rivers residents, a representative from Michiana told Watershed Voice, “The program itself is being updated, as well as the facility. Right now, they (LRS) just offer drop off for recycling. You’d have to bring the items into Niles until the program is resumed.” Watershed asked the representative when the program will be finished and was told, “We haven’t been given any dates yet, they are currently working on it. That’s all we know.” In response to Watershed’s questions on why customers were not informed ahead of time of the cancellation of recycling services, the representative said, “I don’t think the company did (notify customers). We have since been bought out by LRS, so it’s just been a lot of different changes over the last couple of months.”

Residents are frustrated with the sudden and unannounced change in local recycling services, and have been voicing their dissatisfaction across social media. Michiana customer Alex Linn posted this statement on a Three Rivers community Facebook page:

“I talked to my driver last week, and he told me a few interesting things on this topic. First, all of the pickups in our area are going DIRECTLY to Westside landfill, and have been for a while. Meaning they haven’t been sorting the recycling out anyways, even when we had yellow bags. Second, that they are under new ownership and things are changing, including the fact that they don’t sort the trash pickups anymore. Third, they are no longer giving out the yellow bags because of this, and there is likely no recycling solution for the rural areas in the foreseeable future.”

The Michiana representative had no information on this matter when asked. Linn went onto say, “What’s bothering me is that I signed up for a sorted trash service, and we have not been getting one. I received no word that I was no longer receiving everything I pay for, and our service charge has gone up.”

Additionally, residents are unhappy with Michiana’s suggestion for customers to take their recycling to the site in Niles. “No recycling sends the wrong message — driving to Niles isn’t a viable or eco-solution,” one resident said in a Facebook comment discussing the change in services. Other comments from customers included “Sorry, Michiana, not driving my recycling to Niles” and “That’s ridiculous. You can drive an hour to drop off your recycling? Come on now.” 

Three Rivers resident Mandy Christophel is upset by Michiana’s discontinuation of curbside recycling services, and has been vocal across local social media in an attempt to find other options in the area. “Does anyone know of a Three Rivers service that IS recycling?” Christophel asked in the Three Rivers community Facebook page. When someone offered the suggestion of taking her recycling to the Westside landfill, Christophel pointed out what so many Michiana customers are similarly dissatisfied with and said, “Yeah, but I was under the impression I was paying for residential recycling services.”

Alternative recycling options

Waste Management’s Westside Recycling and Disposal Facility is an option for those looking for a place to bring items for residential recycling. Located at 59762 Roberts Road, the Westside Landfill is an active municipal solid waste landfill, as well as a closed industrial, construction, and demolition landfill which closed in 2004. According to Waste Management, the charges to drop off trash at the landfill differ depending on the weight of the load, and some special materials may incur additional charges. The landfill is open for residential recycling on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. 

Watershed Voice contacted Borden Waste Away, Best Way, Nissley, and Republic Services to inquire whether curbside recycling would be an option for Three Rivers residents, and was told Three Rivers is not within any of their service areas. Waste Management, however, does offer curbside recycling, and Watershed was quoted the following trash and recycling prices for citizens of Three Rivers living within the city limits: A trash service offering weekly pickup for a 96-gallon cart is $15.39, and there is a recycling cost of $8.49 for a 64-gallon cart with bi-weekly service. 

For those interested in services such as composting, the City of Three Rivers Compost drop-off area at the Department of Public Services (DPS) is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday for all city residents. Non-city residents and all contractors are required to pay for a pass to drop off grass clippings, leaves, and other yard and garden waste. Compost passes cost $6 per cubic yard and can be purchased from DPS or at City Hall during open hours. The drop-off area is located at 1015 S. Lincoln Ave.

Beca Welty is a staff writer and columnist for Watershed Voice.