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Canadian owned Emterra takes over twp. garbage collection


Wednesday now pickup day, recycling key



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November 28, 2012 - Atlas Twp.- Not only has the waste collection day in the township changed, the company has, too.

Emterra Environmental USA, a family owned and operated company, providing trash collection and recycling services to municipalities, residents, businesses and institutional customers has taken over the Wednesday collection of household refuse in the township.

The Burlington, Ontario based company will now operate in Flint after purchasing contracts from the bankrupt Richfield Landfill, Inc.

"A lot of the equipment in Flint was purchased by Emterra—the trucks may still say Richfield," said Vivian Leung, accelerated leadership program associate from Emterra Environmental USA, in Vancover. "However, we will still need to invest in the community. We will bring more to the table than just what Richfield had been providing. Regarding the staffing of the Flint operations—we have offered employment to existing Richfield staff; however, we did not acquire all the active contracts. We did have to scale the operations to be in line with customers' needs. Moreover, we are expanding the operations and providing more employment in the near future. We are a growing company."

Richfield Landfill, Inc. which owns the landfill, filled for bankruptcy on Oct. 19 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Flint, before Judge Daniel Opperman. The decision includes liquidation of millions of dollars of assets, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records. According to news sources, Halton Recycling of Ontario agreed to pay $5 million for several pieces of property that were owned by Richfield, as well as a dozen waste hauling contracts with communities in the Genesee County area.

The asset purchase by Emterra includes not only Atlas Township, but also Argentine, Davison, Flushing, Genesee, Grand Blanc, Mt. Morris, Richfield, Thetford, Vienna and Mundy townships, in addition to the cities of Clio, Flint and the Village of Otisville. Emterra also purchased trash collection and recycling services in Port Huron and Bad Axe. An affiliate of Emterra purchased Cove Landfill in Bad Axe.

"Emterra is a North American company. They may not be based in the United States, but we are thrilled that someone will continue to pick up our trash each week and they are very pro-recycling," said Shirley Kautman-Jones, township supervisor. "The township is very pleased and will continue to promote recycling."

These investments in mid-Michigan are the first for Emterra in the United States, added Leung.

"One of the main reasons to expand to the States is opportunity," she said. "We at Emterra are taking aim at the diversion rate. That is the amount of garbage that is diverted from the landfill to a recycling facility. Right now it's too early to determine how much recycling is going to occur, but ultimately the community dictates that rate. Emterra begins the initiative by making proposals to the community regarding recycling. Right now as industry changes so does the demands for products. The material and the amount has been increasing each year."

While township residents will continue curbside recycling, Kautman-Jones encourages more participation.

"I'm a huge proponent on recycling," she said. "We need to keep refuse out of the ground. As a township we participate in hazardous waste collection each year. I hope to see more in the recycling bins rather than in garbage bags in front of homes."

While the transitional period may be difficult at times, Emterra will strive for perfection.

"In addition to the new branding, Emterra emphasizes service excellence as one of the key pillars of how we do business," she said. "There's less missed calls because there's more customer service staff."

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