Recycling in Lansing is bigger than you may think

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Solar panels on Michigan Energy Options.

Andy Chmura

Solar panels on Michigan Energy Options.

According to Lansing’s official government website, recycling makes a huge difference in the community. In fact, for every 1,000 tons the city collects, 14,903 trees are saved, 6,404,606 gallons of water are saved, 408,412 gallons of gasoline are saved and 2,856 metric tons of greenhouse emissions are saved.

But how exactly does Lansing recycle materials?

Too often does recyclable material get thrown out with regular trash, ending up in landfills. This is why the Lansing Recycling Center on East Northrup Street and South Cedar Street takes recyclables in addition to garbage.

Google Maps image of the Lansing Recycling center

Google Maps image of the Lansing Recycling center

Matt Nally, a manager at the Lansing Recycling Center, says that they accept metal, cardboard and paper as well as trash dumping services. As trash comes in, Nally and his coworkers separate these materials from basic garbage that can be recycled.

The Lansing Recycling Center also offers an incentive for recycling by accepting recyclable material for free or even paying customers for metal.

“If they come with a bunch of metal, we buy their scrap metal,” said Nally. “Then, if they’ve got trash, they get charged by the cubic yardage. But if they just have paper and cardboard, they can just come in and it’s free recycling for any Lansing resident.”

James Ives, an education and outreach coordinator at Michigan State University’s Surplus and Recycling, believes that recycling is a key step of creating a greener world. A part of of Ives’ job is to educate the community on recycling and sustainability.

“We’ve only got one planet, right?” said Ives. “At the rate we’re going now by the use of our planet, we’re probably going to need four or five more planets if we continue on the same path.”

Ives believes that recycling is necessary because with a rising population, the earth’s resources will only last so long. But he also thinks it can be beneficial from an economic standpoint.

“We only have a limited amount of materials, natural resources,” said Ives. “Some places have more landfill spaces than others. So it’s (recycling) more economical, creates more jobs, save natural resources and saves money.”

Breina Pugh, the community relations coordinator at Granger Recycling Center on Wood Street and Lake Lansing Road, said “we offer curbside recycling,” said Pugh.

“We offer that for most of our customers,” Pugh said. “We have some partnerships. An example of that is Delta Township. We offer no additional cost recycling for them. So if you’re a trash customer, you get your recycling curbside for free.”

Granger does not offer curbside recycling to people of rural areas, due the high cost of

Solar panels on Michigan Energy Options. Photo taken by Andy Chmura

Andy Chmura

Solar panels on Michigan Energy Options. Photo taken by Andy Chmura

servicing a small, dispersed population. However, they do offer drop-off facilities, where people can place recyclables in a variety containers that corresponds with that different recyclable materials.

“For the most part, what we do is single-stream recycling on our curbside,” said Pugh. “So that means you can put almost all of your recyclable materials into one container. Then we send that to a vendor called ‘American Waste’ in Traverse City where they have a much more advanced recycling facility, and they sort all the material there.”