The East Lansing Recycling Drop-off Center provides local residents with pre-sorted recycling bins as a supplement to its single-stream curbside recycling program.

Higher costs put community recycling programs at risk

Sharply higher costs are putting strains on community recycling programs — even pushing some cities to send all of their waste to landfills instead. The problem is due in large part to the trade war with China, once the largest buyer of recyclable materials from the U.S. In January 2018, China imposed tariffs and bans on Americans’ waste materials like cardboard and plastics. That’s led to a steep drop in the price waste companies can get for raw recyclable materials. Recyclers have increased fees for processing cities’ waste to make up for those losses. Lansing paid $6.42 per ton to recycle waste gathered from its curbside recycling program in January 2018.

Andy Schor

Lansing budget would power all city buildings with 100% renewable energy by July

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor proposed a plan March 25 to use 100 percent renewable energy for all city government buildings. This would make Lansing the first city in Michigan to do so. Part of his budget proposal included a plan to buy renewable energy credits from the Lansing Board of Water and Light. “We decided that the city of Lansing should be a leader and should purchase renewable power,” said Schor. “We looked at our budget, and we made this a priority.”

Councilmember Peter Spadafore commended Schor.

Fire chiefs seek rules for disposal of risky firefighting foam

By MAXWELL EVANS
Capital News Service

LANSING — Fifteen years ago, “way before anyone knew” about the dangers of the PFAS chemicals within, the Walker Fire Department purchased a stash of firefighting foam from the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids to be used during training. Now, roughly 100 gallons of foam purchased from the airport — stored in plastic in an unused building — have nowhere to go, said Walker Fire Chief Bob Walker. That makes it crucial that a bill package to limit the use of PFAS-containing firefighting foams sets up a clear disposal mechanism for the materials, some fire chiefs say. PFAS chemicals are linked to cancer, immune system dysfunction and issues with child development, according to the National Institutes of Health. They were included in firefighting foams used on fuel or petroleum fires, said Pat Parker, the fire chief of the Grand Traverse Metro Emergency Services Authority.