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Posted on: January 11, 2023

Outreach Phase of East Lansing’s Recycling Contamination Reduction Project to Begin this Winter

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EAST LANSING, Mich. — East Lansing community members are advised that the educational outreach phase of the City of East Lansing’s pilot recycling contamination reduction project is slated to begin this winter.

As previously announced, this pilot project was launched in 2022 in partnership with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), The Recycling Partnership, Prairie Robotics and The Ohio State University to improve the quality of recycling in curbside recycling carts in East Lansing by providing residents personalized and real-time curbside recycling education and feedback. The project is a modified version of The Recycling Partnership’s “Feet on the Street” cart tagging recycling initiative, in that, instead of someone reviewing contents and placing a tag on curbside recycling carts, technology detects contamination during normal collection. Postcards will soon be sent out to the associated addresses where contamination was found with feedback and helpful reminders on what items are and are not accepted as part of the City’s recycling program. While City sanitation vehicles have long been equipped with cameras to alert drivers of dangerous or damaging materials, this new technology enables the City to provide answers to common recycling questions and educational material where it will have the most impact. 

Increasing the quality of the curbside recycling stream saves money and time and ensures the maximum amount of material is processed and recycled, which is the goal of this project. The Recycling Partnership’s traditional “Feet on the Street” program has been implemented in more than 70 communities around the nation, with some communities seeing as much as a 57% decrease of nonrecyclables in recycling and an average of a 27% increase in the overall capture of quality recyclables.

East Lansing residents can learn more about what is and is not accepted in curbside recycling carts at www.cityofeastlansing.com/recycle and are encouraged to download the City’s Recycle Coach mobile app for collection reminders and the “What Goes Where?” search tool.

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