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East Lansing receives grants to improve recycling program

October 11, 2017
<p>East Lansing City Hall pictured on Sept. 12, 2017, on Linden Street. Here, the City Council meets to discuss residents&#x27; concerns.</p>

East Lansing City Hall pictured on Sept. 12, 2017, on Linden Street. Here, the City Council meets to discuss residents' concerns.

Photo by Anntaninna Biondo | The State News

The City of East Lansing received more than $18,000 in grants from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to further its recycling programs. 

A recycling infrastructure grant gave the city $14,760, and with additional funds from the city, around $20,000 will be spent to improve infrastructure, Environmental Services Administrator Cathy DeShambo said.

Part of that program will include increasing the “parrot green” recycling containers on the sidewalks of greater downtown East Lansing.

The East Lansing Family Aquatic Center, the Hannah Community Center, parks and more will receive more containers. Around 20 will be installed with the grant money.

“We want to make sure that anywhere you go in our greater downtown, you have adequate recycling to use as you need,” DeShambo said. 

Right now, there is no consistent styrofoam recycling, but the community has been asking for it, DeShambo said.

“We cannot add styrofoam to our curbside, single stream recycling,” DeShambo said. “Our processor absolutely will not allow it.”

However, with the grant a styrofoam recycling drop-off location will be created. It will be added to the city’s drop-off center located at the East Lansing Department of Public Works, 1800 E. State St.

The city was also awarded $4,000 for a recycling education grant, and with additional funds from the city, will spend a total of more than $7,000 to improve recycling knowledge.

"The recycling education grant really focuses on education outreach to our residents about recycling,” DeShambo said. “We find that we’re educating twice a year with new groups of people coming in.”

The city's efforts will focus on contamination awareness campaigns to stop people from recycling items that cannot be recycled and educating residents to make their recycling process as easy as possible, DeShambo said.

“It’s really, really important that we have that kind of outreach and we have good, strong materials to give to residents so they can completely understand the recycling program and how it works,” DeShambo said. “We want them to enjoy the recycling program and not get frustrated if we’re not taking the recycling because it’s contaminated.”

Receiving both grants is great for East Lansing’s recycling program, Deshambo said.

"We get very excited identifying areas where we can grow and do better and then bringing that to fruition with our residents,” DeShambo said. “We do have a climate sustainability plan and one of the major goals of that plan is waste reduction. It’s something that we work on continuously.”

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