FLINT (WJRT) - (11/14/16) - Three businesses were honored Monday for their efforts to recycle the millions of bottles that have been generated by the Flint water emergency.
For the past 11 months, water bottles have been the main way Flint neighbors have been able to get uncontaminated water. The Association of Plastics Recyclers is giving a pat on the back to the businesses that have been able to keep many of the bottles out of landfills.
Schupan Recycling, Metro Sanitation Services and Star Truck Rentals have been working together to collect, store, transport and process Flint water bottles for recycling, but they need more cooperation from those who use the bottles to get them to recycling centers.
Water bottles can be shredded and made into sound insulators in engine manifold covers.
"These are where the water bottles are going within the vehicle, the Chevy Equinox," said John Bradburn, of General Motors.
The water bottles can be insulation in winter suits for the homeless and used in air filters, but it's estimated only 25 percent of the water bottles used in Flint are being recycled.
The three companies that were cited for their efforts received some certificates of appreciation and checks to encourage them to keep it up.
"Unless we do more to capture these materials, we're just letting them to go to waste," said Kerrin O'Brien, of the Michigan Recycling Coalition.
"It's incredibly frustrating and yes we can do better," said Roger Cargill, of Schupan Recycling.
For the most part, Flint only has small recycling bins for homes.
"We need to deliver curbside recycling carts to every Flint household so that they can continue effectively. We can really recycle 50 to 70 percent of the city's waste if we give opportunities to all the residents of Flint," O'Brien said.
Every water distribution center in Flint takes back empty water bottles that are in clear plastic bags, which are provided when the water is picked up.