On Sept. 30, Meridian Township hosted the Regional Fall Recycling Event at Chippewa Middle School (4000 Okemos Road). This marked the 10th year of the event.
Volunteer coordinator Ellen Dillman has been recycling for years.
“I’ve been a recycler since before it was popular,” Dillman said. “My dad was a member of the ecology center in 1970 in Ann Arbor and so that’s what we did.”
The event sprawled the parking lot of the school.
“It has been traditionally a very difficult thing to find the space,” Dillman said. “You can see how much space this takes up.”
By 11 a.m. an estimated 300 cars had come to recycle electronics, bikes, furniture, medicine and more.
“The people that come clearly think it’s important,” said Dillman. “We officially opened at 9. People were here by 8:15. People were lining up. … When I look at the donation bucket and see $20 bills in there, obviously the community values it.”
Around 80 volunteers directed cars, unpacked them, answered questions and offered support. Katie Wenstrom is one of them. A pharmacist looking to give back to the community, Wenstrom assisted with medicine disposal.
“We just got something that expired back in 1995, so that was kind of fun,” Wenstrom said. “That’s my favorite part of all of this, just to see the random expired stuff. I volunteered at one a couple years ago and we got something that expired back in 1967. That’s older than I am.”
Recycling coordinator LeRoy Harvey said that events like this are a community effort, not possible without the volunteers and professionals that come together to make it happen.
“We’re trying to give people an alternative to the landfill, and a lot of this stuff you can’t put on your curbside or in a recycling bin,” said Harvey.
Dillman agreed with the importance of keeping things out of the landfills.
“We can’t keep dumping junk on the planet,” Dillman said. “If you have a household and you decide to use one room as your garbage place, imagine how full it would get really fast and then where would you put your junk? So it’s really hugely important.”