Meridian Cares joined the Meridian Green Team for a recycling event held on Saturday.
The event, held at Chippewa Middle School in Okemos, was a drive-by donation collection where volunteers would remove any waste in a drive-by dump, hoping to curb waste and encourage recycling.
Meridian Cares held a coat collection drive, which continues through the rest of the week.
Meridian Green Team is a recycling oriented volunteer organization that host multiple “green” events a year, including recycling events, composting and sustainability education. Meanwhile, Meridian Cares is a fundraiser based program that helps local families who are struggling.
“We’ve been doing recycling events for a couple of decades, but more steadily over the last 15 years," said Meridian Township Environmental Programs Coordinator LeRoy Harvey. "We try to do one or two recycling events a year since 2007. We recycle various things. At this event we’re going to do electronics, coats and we’re also working with Consumers Energy Electric customers to recycle appliances.”
Although the items being recycled varies by the event, the Green Team decided to collect electronics and appliances for this season collection because of how large a factor they play in waste streams.
Harvey said the Green Team takes items that are difficult to recycle and dispose of them safely.
On Saturday, along with coats, they collected televisions, monitors, computers/laptops, mobile phones, satellite boxes, printers, scanners and stereo equipment. The public could also donate appliances such a refrigerators, air conditioners, freezers and dehumidifiers.
“At our events we try to chose things that the public is interested in recycling, and might not be able to throw in your normal recycling bin,” Harvey said.
The collection of appliances is due to the need for energy efficiency.
Harvey also said clothing and fabrics are a large part of the waste stream, a reason why Meridian Cares held the coat drive. The team collects these items for recycling, waste reduction, social need and energy efficiency.
All electronics from this year's donation will be taken by Valley City Electronics Recycling out of Grand Rapids, where they will be sorted and used for parts. The donated coats will be locally redistributed to other families in the greater Lansing area that are financially struggling.
Harvey expected a total of a few dozen coats, several tons of electronics and a few dozen appliances.
Ellen Dillman, volunteer coordinator for Meridian Green Team, said that one year they had someone arrive on a bicycle to donate. The donor attached a trailer to the bicycle carrying a hot water heater.
“In the spring, we take bicycles. Sometimes we do shredding of household goods or large metals, that type of thing,” Dillman said.
Recycling events and drives have become an increasingly popular volunteer opportunity for businesses, high school students and college students. Dillman, who has been volunteer coordinator for 11 years, has held many events and worked with hundreds of volunteers.
“It was started by some women who wanted to be able to get rid of stuff that was harder to get rid of," Dillman said. "Back then, it was things like cardboard, and bottles and cans, which now you can recycle easily anywhere. It’s melded into a thing where we will take things that are more difficult to find a way to recycle. Electronics are harder to recycle."
High school volunteer numbers have gone as high as 40 students at one event. Dillman said students seem eager to help out and always pull their weight.
Volunteers for the recycling events vary from schools to businesses, but the Green Team always pulls in high numbers of volunteers.
For more information about the Meridian Green Team, Meridian Cares or more upcoming events, visit the Meridian Township website.