Basic recycling not available to many Detroit apartment renters due to lack of law

Basic recycling not available to many Detroit apartment renters due to lack of law

Dive Brief:

  • Many renters in Detroit’s apartments and lofts still don’t have access to basic recycling because there is currently no city rule requiring it, as reported by the Detroit News.
  • Some landlords have cited cost as a factor, while other says some of the older buildings weren’t designed with enough space to store waste and recyclables separately.
  • The city’s 2014 contract with Rizzo Environmental Services and Advanced Disposal required curbside recycling be made available to residences with up to four units, though didn’t include apartments or businesses.

Dive Insight:

Detroit was one of the last major cities to offer recycling when its curbside pilot program in 2009 and then formalized the system through the 2014 contract, though participation rates have been low with only 15% of residents recycling as of July. The cost of carts is seen as one potential barrier along with a lack of consumer education.

Some renters told the Detroit News they would be willing to pay extra money to help cover the cost of collections and others have even been taking their recyclables to the homes of friends or family with curbside pick-up. The city could revisit this situation when the curbside contract comes up for renewal in 2019, but until then officials say they’re focused on making the existing program work.

Recycling in multi-unit buildings is a challenge in many cities due to space constraints and accountability issues. Many cities see multi-unit recycling as key to reaching their diversion goals though making it work can be challenging. Chicago recently faced heavy opposition from the real estate community over an ordinance meant to strengthen multi-unit recycling by raising fines for noncompliance.

Recommended Reading

The Detroit News: Detroit renters frustrated by lack of recycling options