Recycling in Detroit

Detroit is one of the few places where all the garbage, trash and refuse - from recyclables and compostables to toxic waste and old furniture - will be picked up and hauled off to the same place, no questions asked. The fact that that place is an incinerator, which spews our garbage right back at us and into our air, makes the city's decidedly ungreen trash policy all the more troubling. Below, contributor Michelle Diggs provides a quick refresher course on how Detroiters can employ the three R's of responsible waste management: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

REDUCE: What can I say about reducing? Stop buying things? O.K. I said it. But seriously there are many ways to reduce our consumption. If we all tried one… phew, I can't even imagine what would happen to our corporate sponsors - they might never give us the 10 mil they promised.

REUSE: This one's simple. Try fixing things before you go out and get a new one. And if you still need more stuff, there are a bunch of second hand shops in Detroit - you know what to do.

RECYCLE: First let's take a look at what can be recycled around here:

Glass: clear, green and brown - rinse it out and put the metal lids with the metal

Clean dry newspapers and inserts - pack newspapers in a bag or tie with twine

Empty metal cans, lids and foil - clean out the cans, and remember no hazardous materials!

Plastic with 1 or 2 on the bottom - clean it out (no critters wanted)

Mixed paper: phone books, junk mail - make sure it's dry
cereal boxes, magazines, computer
paper even shredded paper.

Scrap aluminum, lawn chairs, window frames, pots, metal hangers - time to clean out the yard

Motor oil - please don't throw it down the storm drains - that's our water dude

Batteries - put them in a plastic bag or a clean dry milk jug

Ink cartridges - from your printer to another's: instant karma

Car batteries - from your car to another's - instant carma?

Recycling in Detroit is not the easiest thing to do. There's none of that fancy curbside pickup you hear about in the suburbs . If you want to stay in the city limits, you have two choices

Chene Ferry (2263 E. Ferry and Palmer, just west of Chene).
Open Wednesday 10 am - 2 pm, Saturday 9am - 3pm.

Pat and Sandy are usually there to take what you got and give you a warm thanks. I've heard ugly rumors about the recycling being taken to the incinerator - which is right down the road - but Pat assures me that it goes out to Taylor recycling. The site doesn't take green glass or Styrofoam.

Corktown Recycles: 2411 14th St. and Michigan Ave., right by our beautiful train station.
Open the third Saturday of the month, 8am - 3pm.

These guys just started in December. They take clean Styrofoam and plastic shopping bags ( you know the ones in the trees?). As a matter of fact they are starting a program with surrounding schools. For every pound of plastic bags they turn in they get a dollar for their school. How many bags do you think are in a pound? They have many more programs in the works: a truck to pick up business's recycling and bikes that have carts to pick up recycling. Way to be proactive! By the way this program is funded by the elusive empowerment zone. For the time being, Corktown doesn't accept motor oil. (Their stuff goes to Taylor, too.)

If you have Hazardous Materials to get rid of like paint, paint thinner, household chemicals you can call 923-2240 or go to 2000 E. Ferry (right by Chene Ferry recycling) and drop it off - no charge.

There are also a couple of convenient options just outside the city limits.

Taylor Recycling: On Holland Rd. between Beech Daily and Inkster Rd..
Open Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm, Saturday 8am - 3pm.

This is where it all ends up anyway. Call them at 313-291-7410.

Recycle America: NE corner of 8 mile and Evergreen in Southfield.
Drop off bins open 24/7! The handy alternative for people who can't work their busy lives around the recyclers' schedules.

Where you go to recycle doesn't matter. What matters is that you're doing your part in making this city a better place to live. By not sending our trash to the incinerator we can clean the air bit by bit. Look in the mirror and give yourself a big hug.

Much Love,