East Lansing Recycling Center Survey Shows Interest in Composting Option

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Gary Caldwell for ELi

East Lansing's recycling center on State Road is open and considering offering more services.

East Lansing’s Commission on the Environment began to hold a scheduled meeting on Mar. 2, but the meeting was cut short once Environmental Services Administrator Cathy DeShambo realized the public could not call into the meeting as required under Michigan’s Open Meetings Act. But before the meeting was abridged, Jessica Crawford, an MSU graduate student and commission member, presented results of a survey she administered through the City’s Recycling Center.

The survey, according to Crawford’s presentation, demonstrated interest in composting options that would be managed by the City, and also showed support for better labeling on recycling bins.

Crawford shared the presentation on her community-engaged research project and the approach used to enhance resources at the City’s Recycling Center. Her project used research collected through surveys to attempt to solve real-world problems that the recyclers face.

Last year, Crawford and others involved with the Recycling Center created a survey asking users what changes they would like to see and posted information about how to access the survey around the drop-off area. This survey was only available online, but over the course of several months, it ended up receiving 497 responses. The survey was intended to find out what changes current users of the drop-off center thought would make the service more accommodating and user-friendly.

Most users reported that they desired more materials to be accepted at the drop-off area, and 78 percent said they would also like to see some form of compositing drop-off or pick-up in the city.

Respondents also called for more detailed labeling on the drop-off bins to know exactly what can and cannot be put in them.

Crawford said that new signs have since been designed in hopes of making use of the drop-off center easier and more efficient.

At the Mar. 2 meeting, commissioners discussed what a future composting program could look like. They briefly mentioned the possibility of a curbside pickup option for compost that would most likely require users to pay a yearly fee. They also considered a compost drop-off option at the recycling center.

Compost adaptations may still be in the future, but as for right now, the East Lansing Recycling Center currently has many options for residents interested in sustainability. The drop-off center most commonly receives cardboard and Styrofoam, but it can also accept batteries, CFL bulbs, cellphones, as well as paper, plastic, glass, and metals.

The Recycling Center is located at East Lansing Department of Public Works, 1800 E. State Road and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

East Lansing residents are also able to drop off recyclables at MSU’s Recycling Center, located on Green Way, just off Farm Lane. It is open for drop-off from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays with extended hours on Wednesdays, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The conversation about recycling options will be revisited this evening, Mar. 30, at 7 p.m., when the Commission on the Environment will hold the meeting that had been intended for Mar. 2. You can find the agenda, learn how to call in, and tune in here.

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