Thursday, April 28, 2022

Feet on the Street

Recycling counselors to inspect trash containers throughout city

Westland residents may be surprised to see inspectors taking a look in their trash bins and refuse containers beginning next month.

In an effort to help residents recycle more effectively, the city has joined the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) Recycling Partnership, a nonprofit organization that works with communities, companies, and governments to transform recycling. The partnership among nearly 100 Michigan communities is an effort to help residents recycle more effectively. 

Starting in May and with the assistance of a $100,000 grant, Westland officials will launch The Recycling Partnership Feet on the Street cart tagging recycling initiative -a communitywide initiative to improve the quality of recycling in single-stream curbside recycling bins by providing residents personalized and real-time curbside recycling education and feedback.

Included in the Feet on the Street program is a comprehensive education and outreach strategy that involves a team of community-based observers visiting each resident's cart and providing tailored feedback on how to improve what items make it into the cart.

The Feet on the Street program is intended to increase the amount of quality recyclables and reduce the amount of non-recyclables in recycling carts. Developed by The Recycling Partnership, this program helps communities achieve economically efficient recycling programs, reduces the number of new resources used in packaging by providing more recycled content for new products, and improves the cleanliness of communities, officials said.

“Recycling is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do,” said Mayor William R. Wild “Recycling properly saves our taxpayers money by reducing the cost of sending recyclable materials to the landfill, supports jobs, and improves the health of the environment. We know residents want to recycle the right way and through this campaign, we are providing them personalized, real-time feedback to do just that.”

“The Recycling Partnership is excited to continue working with MI EGLE and Michigan communities to improve residential recycling across the state,” said Cassandra Ford, community program manager at The Recycling Partnership. “Through this project, we are helping capture more quality recyclables that are then transformed into new materials, as well as creating and supporting jobs, less waste, and stronger, healthier communities.”

“EGLE is excited to continue working with The Recycling Partnership and Michigan communities to continue to improve residential recycling through these quality improvement projects,” said Emily Freeman, recycling specialist for EGLE materials management division. “We all have a role to play in the circular economy and these grants will help even more Michigan communities engage with their residents and improve the quality of recyclable materials collected in curbside and drop off programs across Michigan.”

The partnership has successfully implemented the Feet on the Street program in more than 70 communities around the nation, with some communities seeing as much as a 57 percent decrease of nonrecyclables in recycling and average a 27 percent increase in the overall capture of quality recyclables.

Learn more about what is and is not acceptable at