August 24 2012

Responsible Waste Management: Coming to a Curb Near You

Recycle Here! Detroit, MichiganAccording to the EPA, in 2010, Americans generated about 250 million tons of trash and recycled materials, while composting over 85 million tons of material. Environmental sustainability and responsible resource use are important political and urban planning topics. A study conducted by the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor revealed that Detroit is the only major city without a city-wide recycling program.  But Detroiters don’t intended to settle on a 10.5% recycling rate, when the national average is 32%.

In 2005, Recycle Here! responded to the city’s need for recycling facilities. “What began as a grassroots, neighborhood, recycling event has evolved into a city-wide, fully-funded neighborhood recycling program” offering:

  • Mobile recycling locations;
  • Pick-up recycling services;
  • E-waste (electronics) recycling ;
  • Environmental educational with the Green Living Science initiative;
  • And a mascot named, Bee Green.

Zero Waste Detroit (ZWD) has been leading the environmental policy charge since 2007, bringing the issue of responsible waste management in front of the City Council and the Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Authority (GDRRA). The ZWD coalition represents the values of several local environmental non-profits, including: Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, and Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
City of Detroit 2009 Recycling ProgramWith the pressure on, the city of Detroit opened a recycling center operated by Waste Management in 2009.  Soon after, Detroit initiated a $3.8 million pilot curbside program to assess the feasibility of city-wide recycling pick-up.

Is there room in the budget? A new report states increasing recycling rates could create crucial jobs. Not sexy enough for you? Until recently, gardening, bicycling, and sewing weren’t either. That’s the power of successful marketing and social media.

City-wide recycling and alterative energy, public transit and LEED certified buildings, what else must Detroit prioritize if it wants to make the greenest cities list?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Alexandria Stankovich

Alexandria Stankovich graduated from The University of Michigan with a B.S. in Architecture. In order to gain an authentic understanding of the urban context through the lens of education, she became a Denver, Colorado corps member with Teach for America, teaching elementary Special Education. Returning to metro-Detroit, Michigan, Alexandria writes about the innovative design projects and urban programs taking place in the Motor City. Fueled by her passions for the triple bottom line - environment, economy, and social equity – Alexandria is now working on her Masters in Urban & Regional Planning. She is specializing in Physical Planning and Real Estate Development.

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 24th, 2012 at 9:52 pm and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Education and Careers, Energy, Environmental Non-Profit, Infrastructure. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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