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Michael Recycle coming back?
Michael Recycle is shown with a fellow City of Manteca solid waste worker. - photo by Bulletin file photo

Arguably the most enduring Manteca municipal “employee” of the past 14 years did a lot of trash talk.
He did it at street fairs. He did it at school assemblies.
But the “city worker” who also happens to be the shortest among the ranks hasn’t been seen of late.
That’s why the Manteca City Council on Tuesday is being asked to dip into the city’s share of Cal-Recycle redemption funds to purchase a replacement for Michael Recycle.
Michael Recycle has been the face of Manteca’s recycling efforts for thousands upon thousands of young people since 2003. The current Michael Recycle — who got his name 14 years ago in a contest where kids were invited to submit suggestions — has stopped operating.
The robot has the body of a garbage can using remote control to open and close mechanical hands as well as move the attached arms. The eyelids and eyebrows move allowing the robot to wink, blink and go to sleep via remote control.
Solid waste employees have given Michael Recycle his voice when it comes to chatting with kids and adults about recycling. Micheal’s mouth is synched with the voice.
In the past Michael Recycle also had the ability to squirt water making him a big hit with both small and big kids. And just like his fellow workers than man the city’s solid waste collection truck Michael Recycle proudly wears the City of Manteca municipal seal.
The Michael Recycle II replacement and auxiliary equipment will be close to $15,000.
The money will come from the $53,909.32 Manteca received from Cal-Recycle. The money is the city’s share of the redemption value of plastic and glass containers they collect from curbside recycling throughout the year. The money can only be used for the promotion of recycling.
In the past the city has used the funds to purchase items made out of recycled items as giveaways at events such as the Crossroads Street Fair and Sunrise Kiwanis Pumpkin Fair promoting recycling. The items have ranged from shirts made from recycled water bottles to travel mugs fashioned from recycled plastic.
What money isn’t spent on replacing Michael Recycle will go for the purchase of educational items.
The City Council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 Center St.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email