Small size allows Forest County Potawatomi reservation to become state recycling leaderSubmitted: 05/13/2015
Story By Ben Meyer

Small size allows Forest County Potawatomi reservation to become state recycling leader
CRANDON - A tribal member on the Forest County Potawatomi reservation recycles twice as much material as an average person in Wisconsin. The tribe's efforts made it one of just three groups in Wisconsin named a Recycling Rate Leader by the DNR.

Tony Daniels is a Collection Technician for the tribe. Most weekdays, he's on the road, collecting garbage and recycling from tribal homes.

"It makes me feel good that I'm helping the community and keeping stuff out of the landfill. We're really doing a good job on the recycling," Daniels said.

Unlike workers in many other places, collection technicians on the reservation pick up garbage and recyclables twice a week. That extra trip is possible, in part, because workers need to visit only the relatively small number of homes on reservation lands--a total of approximately 200. All of the waste then goes to a central location just east of Crandon.

"We go through [the recycling] by hand, sort all of the aluminum out, and the rest goes in the dumpsters," said Forest County Potawatomi Waste Management Specialist Jeff Marshall.

The aluminum is sold separately from all other recyclables. Revenue goes back to the tribe's general fund.

Marshall credits the small size of the Forest County Potawatomi Community for his department's effectiveness in recycling.

"I believe that that is the reason for a lot of our success. We can actually get out and talk to the people," he said, emphasizing their outreach efforts. "If it wasn't for them, there would be no recycling."

The tribe collects garbage and recyclables from two main reservation areas. One is in the Stone Lake area just east of Crandon. The other is in the Carter and Blackwell areas.

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