ELi ON EARTH: More Efficient Recycling Coming

You are on eastlansinginfo.org, ELi's old domain, which is now an archive of news (as of early April, 2020). If you are looking for the latest news, go to eastlansinginfo.news and update your bookmarks accordingly!


Monday, July 13, 2015, 12:56 am
Robert Mavrogordato

Image: The new recycling bins coming soon to East Lansing neighborhoods

Recycling in East Lansing is getting re-cycled! There has been a buzz in East Lansing about bigger bins, an expanded list of recyclables, changing collection schedules, and more. I reached out to Cathy DeShambo, Environmental Services Administrator for the City of East Lansing, for her insights into the changes residents can expect, and this is what she had to say:

How will the recycling program be changing?

This automated curbside cart system will dramatically change our recycling program by allowing residents to recycle greater volumes and greater diversity of materials. We will see improved efficiencies because the trucks will be automated (like our refuse trucks) and will increase safety for our staff. Because we will go to every-other-week collection for recycling, we expect to see less wear and tear on our local streets and our new recycling truck is a hybrid that uses 40-50% less fuel and has cleaner emissions. An additional benefit of a cart system is litter control. Our current open top bins are problematic on windy days and even small amounts of litter can have a dramatic impact on the appearance of a dense urban environment.

What brought about these changes?

Waste reduction is a major goal of our City's Climate Sustainability Plan. Increasing recycling volumes through convenient curbside recycling is something that we have been working heavily on for a couple of years. We implemented curbside textile, clothing and household goods recycling through Simple Recycling this past fall and that has been well received by our residents. We have actually been working toward the implementation of this automated cart system for a couple of years. 

What will these changes mean for homeowners?

Materials will still be collected "Single Stream" meaning that there is no sorting of material necessary by residents nor staff. Homeowners will be able to recycle additional materials such as cardboard and boxboard and some materials that will be announced later this summer. Recycling will be collected every other week. We expect the City's recycling volumes to increase by 50-60%. I think that is something we can all feel good about.

What will the City do with the waste?

We currently haul our recyclables to Granger. Our contract with Granger will be expiring so we currently have a Request For Proposals out and we will be reviewing those proposals in early July. We expect that there will be additional materials that can be included in our recycling stream as a result of this competitive process.

What will homeowners do with the blue bins?

We have a couple of options for homeowners: they can keep the bins for storage or other purposes (we have had people use them for container gardening), or we can collect them and recycle them. If they choose to have us recycle them, we ask that residents put them out next to their new cart on the first day of their cart recycling.

What is the roll-out date?

We are in the planning stages still and don't have an exact date but expect to roll out in October.

What challenges do you anticipate with the roll-out?

Educating our residents is critical—really the most critical piece of this process. The success of this program really hinges on resident participation. [Already the City has encouraged resident participation and buy-in by letting residents vote on the design of the carts and the collection trucks.] We know that residents have been patiently awaiting this roll-out and we are just so excited to be able to provide these carts to our residents at no cost. We are truly honored to have been chosen by The Recycling Partnership [a coalition of industry leaders such as Coca-Cola, Ann Arbor-based packaging manufacturer Amcor, among others, to boost recycling efforts in U.S. communities] for this nationally competitive grant of $125,000. 


The City of East Lansing has updated its website to include additional information about the program at the following address:




eastlansinginfo.org © 2013-2020 East Lansing Info