Ask ELi: Can We Get More Curbside Recycling Pick-Ups?

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An East Lansing curbside recycling cart. Remember not to put plastic bags in these carts.

Several ELi readers have asked via Facebook comments and our online question portal whether the City of East Lansing might be able to offer more frequent curbside recycling pick-up while folks are stuck home.

A month ago, resident Justin Padget even wrote to City Council to ask, “Will the City consider offering extra recycling since the recycling center [at the Department of Public Works] is closed and presumably citizens more than ever are ordering online?” Mayor Ruth Beier wrote back to say she thought this was a good idea, but nothing has changed so far.

To learn more about whether there might be a chance of more frequent curbside collection of recycling during the stay-at-home orders, we reached out to the City’s Environmental Services Administrator, Cathy DeShambo.

“While we do not have enough truck capacity to increase frequency of pick-ups,” DeShambo answered, “I do have some suggestions for residents finding themselves maxing out their recycling cart prior to their bi-weekly pick-up.”

In addition to utilizing the Granger recycling drop-off, which is located near Eastwood Towne Center at 16936 Wood Road, DeShambo suggests these approaches:

  • Do a quality check: Have you reviewed the City’s Recycling Guidelines recently to ensure that the materials you are placing in your cart are only materials allowed in our curbside recycling program? 
  • Break down all boxes to maximize room in your cart. Squoosh everything you can (but don’t break glass).
  • Store some of your recyclables for a period of time until drop-off sites start reopening, or until your recycling volume levels off.

“We sometimes get requests from residents for a second recycling cart,” DeShambo said. “This is an option that we reserve, and offer, if truly needed.”

According to DeShambo, the second cart option is a long-term commitment solution “and is truly for those households, that during normal, non-pandemic times, consistently have much more recycling than what can be handled in the bi-weekly pick-up and they want the option to place two carts out for pick-up on their recycling day. These are primarily households of five or more persons.”

DeShambo added: “This would not be an option for a household that is only experiencing an increase in their recycling volume due to the unprecedented times that we are currently experiencing, or a household that has a sporadic increase in recycling that can be handled by utilizing a drop-off site.”

The City announced on Friday that the local State of Emergency has been extended by Mayor Ruth Beier through May 29. That means there is unlikely to be an opening of the Department of Works recycling site on State Road until at least June.

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