By Ally Hamzey
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter
Meridian Township seeks to further the progression of recycling with a grant proposal that is currently in the works. The proposal, according to Meridian Township recycling coordinator LeRoy Harvey, focuses on expanding recycling accessibility for multi-family living.
“[The grant proposal] is still in the developmental phases,” Harvey said. “The state is offering support for the purchase of recycling containers.”
The costs associated with the proposal are not yet definite as it is still in the developmental phase.
Harvey states that only eight apartment complexes offer recycling to residents in Meridian Township. The apartments that offer recycling are: 2900 Place, Arrowtree, Central Park, Club Meridian, Edgewood Village, Grange Acres, Marsh Pointe, and Walden Pond. That leaves around 20 to 30 apartment complexes that do not offer recycling, according to Harvey.
“[The state] found that one of the best ways to encourage or promote recycling is to offer containers for single-stream recycling,” Harvey said.
Single-stream refers to a process of recycling in which all paper, plastics, metals are mixed (essentially anything that is not trash) into one recycling container. In 2015, 2,259,440 total pounds of materials were recycled in Meridian Township. Of that, 1,989,600 pounds of the total recycling in 2015 came from single-stream recycling containers.
“I’m hopeful that recycling rates will expand and that additional costs to recycle material will be offset by reductions in costs for hauling and disposing of waste in the landfill,” Harvey said.
Apartment dwellings are not the only kinds of housing in Meridian Township that could use improvement regarding recycling options. Harvey said that the amount of residential households eligible for recycling in Meridian is under 70 percent. The recycling coordinator seeks to boost it to an even higher rate.
Okemos resident and mother Ruby Adams lives in a home that is not eligible for recycling. Adams believes housing that does not provide recycling pickup or large recycling containers discourages recycling.
“We don’t have recycling pickup,” Adams said. “We have a recycling center in town that we take our [recycling] to.”
Adams is all in favor of a recycling expansion in the community. The Okemos resident said an improvement that could be made regarding recycling would be to have “more recycling pickup.”
House owners Matt and Aleigha Howerly of Okemos said their main implementation of recycling is through bottle returns. When asked what the community could improve on regarding recycling, Matt Howerly had a quick response.
“They could make it free to take something back and recycle,” he said with a chuckle.
Currently, curbside recycling is offered at no additional charge to residential waste customers of Granger in Meridian. Customers with carts pay an additional $1.50 per month. Commercial customers also pay for recycling services associated with the recycling center and recycling events, according to Harvey.
At nearby Michigan State University in East Lansing, Dave Smith, MSU’s recycling coordinator, said studies suggest that if you make recycling convenient and easy to people, they will use it.
“One of the reasons that our drop off site here on campus is so successful is because we offer a wider variety items that people can recycle than most other drop-off sites in the community,” Smith said.
“One of the things [Meridian Township] can improve on is providing better access to multi-family complexes that don’t have services right at our facilities,” Smith said. “(Today) they either have to use the drop-off center [in Meridian], or come to our drop-off center. It is not as convenient.”