What happens to used water bottles from Flint crisis?

Millions of water bottles are pouring into Flint, but is the next stop a landfill?

- Millions of water bottles are flowing into the city of Flint every day - but where will they go once they're all used up.

Another day at another fire station in Flint and another case of water - and another case of plastic bottles in the trash.

"The waste is terrible," said resident Judy Sears. "I have to have three trash cans at my house just for the bottles."

"The landfills are being filled up with all these plastic bottles," said resident Mack Lang.

"I just told my husband we're going to have to put them in a garbage bag and just collect them," said resident Lisa Love.

Flint residents are not just worried about their health, they're worried about the waste.

Millions of bottles and the concern now is that they will end up in a landfill.

"I think a recycling thing would be perfect for the situation," Love said.

The city does have a recycling program - but many residents say something more is needed.

On Tuesday -a  28-foot trailer arrived at the Flint fire station and more are coming. The National Guard is handing out bags, asking people to bring back their empty bottles for recycling.

"We do have the trailer at Station 1 and the trailer will be at Station 5 tomorrow," said Fire Chief David Cox, Jr. "We'll start enacting that.

"Return the bottles in the bag and pick up a case."

In the meantime in Flint's Hispanic community possibly 5,000 to 6,000 residents are concerned that the state of Michigan sent out safety precautions only in English.

"In English," said Juani Olivares, Genesee County Hispanic Latino Collaborative. "Nothing in any other languages"

Which leaves non-English speaking residents still drinking the water.

"We know for a fact going door to door and talking to them that they are still drinking the water," said Olivares. "And the worst thing that they are doing is boiling the water thinking that it is going to help. It doesn't, it gets worse."

Olivares has helped translate the materials to Spanish. She is collecting water and filters and going door to door.

Many undocumented residents are afraid to go pick up supplies - and everybody needs to know about these serious safety concerns.

A coalition of community partners is organizing a recycling program for the thousands of bottles of water being distributed to Flint residents. While additional locations and options are still being finalized, most immediately residents are encouraged to bring their empty water bottles to the following locations.

Young’s Environmental Cleanup:
 
 *   Bill Carr Signs, 719 W. 12th St., Flint (8 a.m. - 4 p.m., M - F)
 *   Young’s Environmental Offices, 5305 N. Dort Hwy., Flint (8 a.m. - 6 p.m., M - F)
 *   Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, 2300 Lapeer Rd., Flint (8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., M - F)
 
Schupan Recycling - available daily 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.:
 
Fire Station #1
310 East 5th St.
 
Fire Station #5
3402 Western Rd.
 
Fire Station #8
202 East Atherton Rd.
 
Bottles are only accepted in clear plastic bags; solid color bags and grocery bags will not be accepted. Residents can use their own clear plastic bags or they can pick up free bags at Fire Station #1, Fire Station #5 or Fire Station #8.
 
Republic Services offers bi-weekly curbside recycling at no cost to residents with weekly curbside trash pickup. Residents can have a curbside bin delivered to their door by calling Republic Services at 1-800-438-0966.
 
Additional information about recycling options will be released when available.
 
Water resource sites remain open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.and are located at:
 
Fire Station #1 (also a recycling site)
310 East 5th St.
 
Fire Station #3
1525 Martin Luther King Ave.
 
Fire Station #5 (also a recycling site)
3402 Western Rd.
 
Fire Station #6
716 West Pierson Rd.
 
Fire Station #8 (also a recycling site)
202 East Atherton Rd.
 
The State of Michigan continues to coordinate response efforts in partnership with the city of Flint, Genesee County and local community organizations.

 


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