Nov. 15 is the 18th annual America Recycles Day, billed by the nonprofit Keep America Beautiful as “the only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States.”
We welcome any effort to boost recycling in Michigan, where our dismal residential recycling rate lags behind every other Great Lakes state and is near the bottom of the list nationwide.
Gov. Rick Snyder announced a plan last year to double the residential rate from 15 percent to 30 percent within two years. A lot of untapped potential for reaching the governor’s goal lies in Detroit, which last year ended its longtime distinction as the largest American city without curbside recycling. All single-family homes in the city now are eligible to participate in the curbside program, but the $25 fee for a recycling cart prevents many households from taking part.
That’s why MEC and our Zero Waste Detroit partners set up a system earlier this year that lets you donate $25 or more to help Detroit families recycle. MEC and ZWD work with the city and its waste-hauling contractors to purchase and distribute the carts to households that have indicated a desire to recycle and a need for assistance to pay the fee. Every penny you give goes directly toward the purchase of a recycling cart.
It’s quick and easy to make a secure online donation. You can do so by clicking here.
Since we launched the program in April, our generous supporters have put curbside recycling within reach for nearly 80 Detroit households. That’s wonderful progress, but we’ve only scratched the surface of the pent-up demand among city residents.
The photo at right, for example, shows a crowd of more than 300 people who came out to learn more about curbside recycling at a recent community meeting at Detroit’s Don Bosco Community Resource Center. Across the city, residents are eager to recycle, but are held back by the cost to get started.
“Twenty-five dollars might not sound like much, but a lot of folks in the city are struggling to make ends meet, and anything non-essential just doesn’t make it into the monthly budget,” Sandra Turner-Handy, MEC community engagement director and a lifelong Detroiter, said in our press release announcing the donation program’s launch. “This program allows anyone to play a role in Detroit’s transformation and re-energize residents to take part in their hometown’s rebirth as a thriving, sustainable city.”
Here are a few reasons why your contribution will have a big impact:
- Recycling diverts reusable materials away from trash incineration. The large incinerator in Detroit is a major source of air pollution and foul odors, and contributes to high asthma death rates.
- Recycling makes good economic sense. A report from the Michigan Recycling Coalition notes that recycling creates four jobs for every waste disposal job that would be created if that material weren’t recycled.
- Recycling conserves natural resources and energy. Recycling aluminum cans saves 95 percent of the energy needed to make new ones.
Please help us make a difference this America Recycles Day by putting the many benefits of curbside recycling within reach for all Detroit residents.