Shining bright: New business promotes recycling, employment for the disabled

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Photo by Linda Gallagher

Central Lake's Melissa Zelenak (right) and Carson Rubis, owners and operators of Sunshine Recycling, a new pick-up service in Central Lake that also works to promote the value of recycling to the environment and provide employment for disabled young people in the area.


CENTRAL LAKE – A new Central Lake business is promoting recycling awareness, helping others recycle and, at the same time, supporting disabled young people seeking gainful employment.

Started by former Antrim County Commissioner Melissa Zelenak and her son Carson Rubis, 23, in April of last year, Sunshine Recycling provides a personal pick-up service of recyclable materials from businesses, Central Lake Public Schools, and residential homes in the Central Lake area.

Their goal is to relieve busy business owners, school officials, and residents of the chore of transporting recyclables to Antrim County recycling drop-off points, while at the same time promoting the practice of recycling through public presentations.

The unique concept has been an almost instant hit, Zelenak said.

"Larger metropolitan areas with recycling issue bins to businesses and residents that are placed out on the curb alongside the regular trash,” Zelenak noted. “That's not an option for the more rural areas, like Antrim County. Right away, we picked up several area businesses as clients.

“Business owners want, very much, to do the right thing environmentally and recycle whatever they can in the way of paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metal, but most of them just don't have the time. So we do it for them."

Interested in promoting recycling for some time as a member of Antrim County's Solid Waste and Recycling Council, Zelenak saw the opportunity for a recycling pick-up business several years ago.

"I wanted to do something in the way of a business that would promote recycling while, at the same time provide a source of work for my son, who was diagnosed with Asperser syndrome when he was a child, and other people with disabilities as well," Zelenak said.

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