In an effort to encourage students and Ann Arbor residents to recycle more, the city of Ann Arbor and non-profit organization Recycle Ann Arbor are working together to streamline the city’s recycling system and increase awareness about recycling.
The city of Ann Arbor currently uses a dual-stream method of recycling, featuring two main components. The first category of products that can be recycled are paper products, which includes magazines, newspapers and flattened cereal boxes. The second group is containers made from metal, glass and plastic.
But, in the summer of 2010, the city will begin to use a single-stream, which officials say is a more efficient system. This means that more products will be able to be recycled, according to Kendra Pyle, residential coordinator for Recycle Ann Arbor. The revamp of the system will focus on expanding the types of plastics that can be recycled within the city.
Pyle explained that the rationale behind the new, single-stream system is that new markets will begin accepting a wider variety of materials, which means that people living in Ann Arbor will be able to recycle more.
In addition to changing the recycling system, the partnership also focuses on educating students and residents about recycling guidelines.
With a national increase in the recycling initiative, Pyle said she is hopeful students will take the time to learn about recycling guidelines and recycle more.
As part of the effort, Pyle has visited Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority and will soon be speaking to Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. She said the program is focused on promoting recycling in off-campus housing locations, because recycling is already readily accessible for students living in residence halls.
Students living off-campus in houses, apartments, co-ops or Greek houses often have to go out of their way to recycle, Pyle said. Therefore, many students choose to just throw away their waste into the trash, when in fact, a large majority of their products can be recycled, Pyle said.
“I have been a recycling advocate since I was a little kid. My family always supported recycling,” Pyle said. “When houses off-campus request services, I tell them why it is important to recycle and why we care about recycling.”
Any student living in off-campus housing can request recycling bins, according to Pyle. Michigan Students Advocating Recycling, a student organization on campus, is allowing students to pick up recycling bins at certain locations.
Pyle said it is important to make sure recycled items end up in the right place, which is one of the reasons why educating students and residents is so important.
“We want to make sure our collected recyclables have an end use,” Pyle said. “We do not want the products to be shipped overseas and be burned to produce fuel.”