With Flint’s water crisis forcing many residents in the mid-Michigan city to avoid drinking tap water, millions of bottles of donated water have flowed in from near and far.
When one Petoskey-based company reached out to Flint, though, its efforts focused more on environmentally friendly disposal of the bottles once they’re empty.
Petoskey Plastics, a producer of plastic bags and films that’s also involved in plastic recycling, recently has donated recycling bags — a type often used in business settings to collect recyclable beverage containers — to help some of Flint’s bottled water users store empty bottles and move them to recycling collection points. Petoskey Plastics packaging division manager Matt Keiswetter said Schupan Recycling — one of several companies involved in water bottle recycling efforts around Flint — had an existing business relationship with his company and asked it to get involved in supplying recycling bags when bottled water usage soared.
As of last week, Keiswetter said Petoskey Plastics had furnished about 13 pallets filled with the bags — about 70,000 bags in all — for the Flint users.
“It will be an ongoing thing,” he added.
Keiswetter said the bags are distributed to bottled water users through recycling stations. Once bags are returned with empty bottles, Schupan gathers and bales the bags, with Keiswetter noting that Petoskey Plastics then purchases them back to be re-purposed into new plastic products.