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Do You Know What To Throw?

picture of do you know what to throw
City of Grand Rapids

Do you know what to throw? That’s the question being asked as the City of Grand Rapids launches a community campaign to improve curbside recycling.  The program, “Feet on the Street” is part of a 150 thousand dollar grant from the state (EGLE) which the City matched with 15 thousand dollars.

“We’re going to have individuals walking through our recycling routes and we’re going to be checking to see how people are recycling.”

That’s James Hurt. Grand Rapids Managing Director of the Public Services Group.

He says the City of Grand Rapids is teaming up with EGLE, (the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy) and the non-profit, The Recycling Partnership.  They’re introducing a first of its kind communitywide project.  A project that will improve the quality of materials residents recycle in their curbside carts.

“Really an effort of educating our community.  Seeing what kinds of material that are out in recycling stream and try to improve the quality that we are receiving.”

Hurt says the City will launch -The Recycling Partnership’s Feet on the Street cart tagging campaign by mid-September. Teams will be dispatched to actually check out what’s in residents’ recycling bins and then tag them- good or bad.  Hurt says they need to minimize contaminated items.  Things like trash and car parts don’t belong in their bins.

“What residents are going to see is, they’re going to get a tag on their cart, that says you’re recycling very well. Or it will say oops, you’ve got cords or yard waste in here.  So, they’re going to be educated along the way.

Hurt says the end game for the Feet on the street program is to increase the amount of quality recyclables better their contamination rate, which Hurt says has increased by as much as 15%-acceptable levels are around 8 %.  That’s one reason they joined forces with “The Recycling Partnership”

“Throughout a number of campaigns they’ve done in the country they would typically see a 20-40 percent reduction in contamination. So that’s really what we are hoping for.”

About 55-thousand postcards are going out this week from the City announcing and explaining the campaign.  If residents have questions you can go the city’s website at grandrapidsmi.gov

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.