The first Earth Day came about in 1970 when a young Senator named Gaylord Nelson believed that educating people about our environment could help save it. This was a time before the EPA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and so many other institutions designed to preserve the very planet we live on.
We have Senator. Nelson and the public engagement he ignited to thank for the preservation of the Lansing’s many natural landmarks & ecosystems including the Lansing River Trail, Toumey Woods, W.J. Beal Botanical Gardens and more.
To celebrate Earth Day this year, we thought we’d take a page from Mr. Nelson’s book and team up with Lauren, a marine biologist at SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium and MSU alum (GO GREEN!), to help protect the environment by putting together this list of Lansing-area facilities where you can recycle common household items and responsibly dispose of hazardous waste.
Lauren, why is it important to recycle?
That’s a great question! Currently, a very small percentage of recyclable materials actually find their way to recycling facilities. This means that most paper, plastic and cardboard products that could be used in other ways are filling up our landfills or worse, our local waterways and oceans.
When we choose to recycle, it reduces the total amount of new resources we strip from the planet like trees and fossil fuels. Plus, it helps ensure these items stay out of our natural ecosystems. It’s a win-win!
What are some of the most common mistakes people make when recycling?
Well, the biggest mistake of all is not taking advantage of all the great recycling programs in your area! But, aside from that, a huge mistake that people make is what’s called “hopeful recycling”. This happens when you’re not sure if something is recyclable, but you toss it in the bin and hope for the best.
It’s an honorable sentiment, but incredibly problematic!
“Hopeful” items that aren’t actually recyclable gum up the system, making it challenging (and expensive) for recycling facilities to operate efficiently.
Plastic grocery bags are commonly tossed into the recycling bin, although they’re only recyclable at special facilities, and cause major problems for curbside recyclers. Plastic bags regularly get caught in the mechanical parts of sorting machines and jam the equipment.
The best thing to do is take an hour or two to research what materials your at-home recycling program can process, and where you can take the other recyclable materials that you can’t just pop in the bin at home.
Lansing-Area Recycling Facilities
They accept: residential batteries, light bulbs, and electronics
Capital Area Recycling and Trash
601 E South Street
Lansing, MI 48910
They accept: junk mail, office paper, newspaper, magazines, paper bags, cereal, food boxes, paper cups, flattened cardboard, plastic containers & cups, aluminum foil, steel cans, milk cartons, juice cartons, glass bottles & jars (all colors)
Granger Waste Services
16980 Wood Road
Lansing, MI 48906
They accept: office paper, newspaper, magazines, paper bags, cereal, food boxes, flattened cardboard, plastic containers & cups, aluminum foil, steel cans, milk cartons, juice cartons, glass bottles & jars (all colors)
A recent Lets Get Specific about Recycling story by Granger can be found HERE.
Lansing Recycling Center
5507 S. Cedar St
Lansing, MI 48911
They accept: non-ferrous metals, batteries, electronics, appliances, paper and more
Michigan State University Recycling
468 Green Way
East Lansing, MI 48824
They accept: Plastic #1 or #2 bottles and jugs, cloudy #2 plastic bottles and jugs, cardboard, boxboard, newspaper, mixed paper, metal, glass, books
If you’re from the Metro Detroit area, check out SEA LIFE Aquarium’s list of Southeast Michigan Recycling Facilities here.
And just shared excellent, local recycling, Earth Day News – via the City of East Lansing Instagram account that along with the City of Lansing, Emterra Environmental has opened a new Material Recovery Facility (MRF), the first of its kind in mid-Michigan, in the City of Lansing.
Both cities will save money on hauling costs, while also reducing fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, by hauling curbside recyclables to this new, local facility for sorting. Previously, items were hauled to the Detroit area. As shared in the City of East Lansing’s post, “This is an extremely important project for our region that has been years in the making,” said East Lansing Mayor Aaron Stephens. “We are looking forward to the environmental and economic benefits that will be achieved as a result of this new facility, and we would like to thank Emterra Environmental and the City of Lansing for partnering with us to make this project a reality.” See the City of Lansing press release for additional information about Emterra Environmental and Greater Lansing recycling.
A special thank you to Erik and Lauren from SEA LIFE Michigan who worked together with East Lansing Area Moms to share this Earth Day information.
SEA LIFE Michigan is the state’s largest aquarium with over 250 species and 2,000 creatures including sharks, rays, green sea turtles and more! Journey through the freshwater lakes of Michigan all the way to the depths of the ocean and meet the amazing creatures that live there. Then, visit the Interactive Touchpool and learn what it feels like to pet a sea anemone, sea star and other rockpool creatures. Finish your adventure by strolling through the Underwater Ocean Tunnel and watch as thousands of tropical fish swim overhead. To get any closer, you’d have to get wet!