Most people in the community take out the recycling bin every week full of plastics, glass and paper products, many resources that could be recycled are in the trash can and headed for the landfill. The Dart Container Corporation, headquartered in Mason, launched a website last month to help people take some of those items out of the trash. Michael Westerfield, corporate director of recycling programs at Dart Container, says people all over the country use foam, but don’t know what to do with it when they’re done. “We’re getting calls from schools, businesses, individuals wanting to know how they can recycle foam,” Westerfield said. “We were getting so many calls that we realized we needed to make a website that addressed not only food-service containers, but all foam.”
From foam blocks used to protect TVs in packages, to polystyrene cafeteria trays, a lot of foam ends up in landfills.
Being green is a term used all around Michigan State University’s campus, and not just on earth day. The university is involved in multiple recycling initiatives that give students, faculty, and community members opportunities to both recycle and reuse. The MSU Surplus Store collects old items and sells them at a reduced price as part of the reuse movement. “People bring in their milk jugs and their plastic wrappers and everything like that and then you get the ‘Well, I have an air conditioner or a rocking chair or a power wheels truck’ and they didn’t want to throw it away,” said Joel Heckaman, head of social media and marketing for the Surplus Store. “Things that may not necessarily be recyclable, like an office chair or a conference table, can be reused.”
The city of Lansing has adopted single-stream recycling to make collecting more efficient. Using old trash compactor trucks, residents are able to recycle many new things, without having to sort it. Despite efforts to raise awareness of the new program, there are many residents who don’t know about the changes and that it’s easier for them to recycle now than ever before. Steve Chalker, Recycling Coordinator, said that they are able to collect twice the amount of recyclables with this new system than they did before–that means less trash and a better environment. He also said that the efficiency comes at no extra cost to residents.