This story is part of the Ask Planet Detroit series, designed to get you the info you need about health and the environment, from multifamily recycling to how air pollution will affect your kids. Ask your questions here.
Dear Planet Detroit,
Have there been any updates with Detroitâ€™s multifamily recycling program? I havenâ€™t heard anything in a while.
Too Many Glass Bottles Here
Dear Too Many,
Indeed, many of us have been eagerly and patiently awaiting for the city to roll out its multifamily recycling service. When it first announced the program alongside a $783,000 grant to purchase equipment, the city said it was looking to launch in 2020.
Unfortunately COVID-19 has delayed many city projects, including this one. But thereâ€™s still some good news. Nishaat Killeen, Detroitâ€™s recycling coordinator, says a pilot phase of the program is going to begin this spring with multifamily buildings where the cityâ€™s Department of Public Works currently provides trash collection service.
â€œThis is a small portion of the multi-unit buildings in the city,â€ Killeen wrote to Planet Detroit by email. â€œIn the meantime, multifamily residents can engage with their property managers and express an interest.â€
She added that thereâ€™s no set date for when the program will be expanded to the rest of the city, but will depend on how the pilot phase goes. Eventually, the city hopes to include a whole range of apartment and commercial buildings, like churches, funeral homes, and barber shops. In total, multifamily buildings would make up just a portion of the eligible buildings.
What else should you expect? The recycling will be single stream, meaning all products â€” cardboard, glass, certain kinds of plastic, etc. â€” will go into a single bin just like the cityâ€™s residential curbside program. There will also be a small fee for the service.
Green Living Science, a contractor on the recycling program, will be doing outreach and education for facilities that sign up.
â€œWeâ€™re going to be communicating with these businesses, letting them know about the service, and seeing if they want to participate in the program,â€ Natalie Jakub, executive director at Green Living Science, told Planet Detroit.
Education is important, since sending non-recyclable items to the center can result in costly delays. â€œPortland or Ann Arbor have had recycling programs for 30 years, but itâ€™s fairly new here,â€ Jakub said. â€œBasic recycling education is something weâ€™re still teaching people of all ages.â€
Jakub believes that multifamily and commercial recycling is going to make a substantial impact in the environmental health of the region.
â€œThereâ€™s more people moving into the city, especially larger apartment buildings, with new ones being built every month,â€ she said. â€œThose apartments are sending tons of waste to our landfills. With this new recycling program, weâ€™re going to start to create a culture of sustainability here in the city.â€
In the meantime, residents of multifamily buildings can take their recycling to the Recycle Here! facility at 5960 Lincoln Street on Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.