Single Stream Recycling Comes to Lansing

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

Forget sorting and separating. Lansing residents can now pile all their recyclables into one bin. The single-stream recycling initiative is being renamed from Waste Reduction Services to Capital Area Recycling and Trash (CART).

"Before, there was this big process by which people had to separate all their material in the bin," said Chad Gamble, the city's public services director. "It really detracted from the overall goal which is to recycle and do things better for the environment."

Gamble says recycling will be easier not just on you but on your wallet too.

"The cost they can scale back is the amount of money they spend on trash collection," he said.

That's because the city's broadening its restrictions on what you can and can't recycle.

They'll now accept milk and juice cartons, most plastics, and all glass bottles. The city hopes the fewer restrictions will entice more people to recycle.

"People have had issues with which plastics we recycle, which ones we don't, which paper we recycle, which ones we don't, and we're pretty much eliminating all that confusion," said Steve Chalker, recycling coordinator.

But there's always room for improvement. You still can't recycle things like plastic bags or styrofoam. Administrators say its a matter of finding places that will buy those materials.

"Theres not a commodity market right now for that, and so our contractor who was awarded the contract, FCR, and many companies, dont recycle styrofoam," said Gamble.

Officials estimate every 1000 tons of recyclables collected could save nearly 1,500 trees and conserve more than 400,000 gallons of gasoline.

The CART program is only offered to Lansing residents living in a four-unit residence or smaller. The city hopes to eventually expand its services to small commercial businesses and larger units.


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  • by David Location: MI on Sep 14, 2010 at 10:34 AM
    We burn our trash in a barrel. I'm not gonna mess with sorting and rinsing various containers. Irresponsible? Perhaps...convenient, YES! In my opinion ashes are better than piles of trash in the landfill. If people want to recycle that's fine and if there are some who don't then that is fine as well. What people don't realize is the time and costs involved with recycling. You use electricity to pump the water to rinse the containers, you use your gas in your car to take the items to the landfills (if you don't have pick up). The list is endless.
  • by John Location: Lansing on Sep 13, 2010 at 08:56 PM
    Plastic bags are recyclable, just not in the curbside program. Take your grocery bags back to the store and place them in the collection bin at the front of virtually every grocery store. Or, better yet, buy reusable grocery bags. Keep in mind that it takes somewhere around 20 million bags to make one load ready for market, and they would all have to be sorted by hand if included in our curbside collection. The cost to do so would be extreme. Styrofoam is also recyclable, but would be very costly and very messy if collected at the curb. Imagine all of the foam packaging peanuts flying around your neighborhood on a windy day. Even the Styrofoam blocks that protect many products break into thousands of small pieces when crushed. My hat is off to the city for taking a bold step forward.
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