By Trevor Darnell
Listen Up, Lansing Staff Reporter
Curbside recycling is trending throughout the entire United States, including Lansing. Lansing has provided this service for years but is now really starting to kick it into next gear with advertising about the system, trying to get residents to start recycling and using the new way of recycling.
The recycling program picks up recyclable items like glass, tin cans, plastic bottles, cartoons, newspapers and magazines, office paper and aluminum from curbside locations on a biweekly basis, according to the city’s website.
“One of the best things we can do to promote pro-environmental behavior is to reduce the ‘hassle factor’ – making it easier to do the right thing. So I would assume that moving to curbside recycling will substantially increase recycling,” said Tom Dietz, professor of Sociology and Environmental science at Michigan State University.
“There is a substantial body of research that shows that curbside collection increases recycling rates and amounts. When you make it easier for consumers to participate, you get more of them doing so,” said Susan Selke, an expert on the subject and professor at Michigan State University.
Selke also explains the negatives of curbside recycling. “There are circumstances in which cost will outweigh the benefit – lightly populated rural areas, for example. Another circumstance where it doesn’t work very well is densely populated urban areas – you likely wouldn’t want curbside recycling in an apartment building, for example, for logistical reasons,” said Selke. “A centrally located site within the building would probably make more sense.”
As explained, it seems as if the positives of curbside trump the negatives.
“Curbside recycling has been coming around for quite some time now, we really enjoy it, I honestly never really started recycling a lot until we moved to Lansing and started getting curbside,” said Angela Moore, a new resident of the area. “I’m originally from North Carolina and we never had anything like it there.”
Some people aren’t as positive about the system.
“I feel bad admitting this, but very rarely do I ever use my recycling bin that the city gave us, it sits on the side of my house, usually I just throw everything away,” said Dallas Schwingel, a long time worker in the Lansing area. “Maybe it’s something I need to start doing more of, I’ll look into it.”
According to research done on DoSomething.org, Americans only recycle around 30 percent of waste, but 75 percent of their waste are things which could be recycled. If Americans recycled one aluminum can a day, they would have enough power to listen to a music album on an iPod. If they recycled 100 aluminum cans a day, it is enough energy to light up a bedroom for two whole weeks.
In 2009, there were about 9,000 curbside recycling programs in the United States. American recycled 82 million tons of material in that same year according the KeepAmericaBeautiful.org. It also states that the recyclable materials in the U.S. waste stream would generate over $7 billion if they were recycled, which is equivalent to Donald Trump’s net worth.