Curbside recycling is returning to Lincoln Park this summer.
After an approximately 20-year absence, the Lincoln Park City Council approved the restoration of services, with councilmen Larry Kelsey and Thomas Parkinson voting against the resolution.
Lincoln Park Mayor Tom Karnes credited a group of advocates from Lincoln Park High School as instrumental to the move. He said the Green Team at the school sent emails to council members and had a representative speak at a meeting. They also recently won a $970 grant for water bottle filling stations from the Lincoln Park Schools Education Foundation.
Emily Cizmas is a physical sciences teacher at the high school, as well as the coordinator of the Green School program.
“My Green Team students were concerned with how much recyclable material is thrown away at LPHS and at their homes,” she said. “They spoke with Mayor Karnes, and he explained that curbside recycling for Lincoln Park residents was one of his priorities as well. He informed us that the Lincoln Park City Council would soon vote on the issue. Green Team students wanted to help, so they contacted their elected officials and voiced their support for the initiative.”
The vote comes after an October survey showed a majority of residents were in favor of bringing recycling back. More than 58 percent of respondents to the city-run survey deemed recycling “Very important,” whereas only 11 percent selected “Not important” from the five-point scale.
Another key issue centered on price.
Asked whether they would be willing to pay a fee to add recycling collection, 33 percent said “No” and 67 percent “Yes.”
James Gallagher, Lincoln Park’s city management coordinator, said the finance team is putting the finishing touches on the budget for the coming fiscal year. The expectation is that residents will incur a quarterly fee of $14.25 for curbside recycling, paying a total of $57 per year for the service. The line item will show up on residents’ water bills.
The contract for curbside collection, transportation and disposal of recyclables was awarded to Green for Life Environmental USA Inc. in Sterling Heights. The term of the deal runs through August 31, 2023.
Recycling bins will be similar in style to the city’s current trash bins, and Green for Life will work with Lincoln Park officials to develop education materials for residents.
“It’s been quite a while since some residents have participated in a recycling program,” Gallagher said. “So we’ll put out information on things like how far folks have to go in cleaning out recyclables.”
He said the information will be distributed by mail and online in advance of an anticipated July rollout of the program.
For the Lincoln Park High School Green Team, this is just one component of “going green.”
“My students were excited to hear that the LP City Council approved the measure this week,” Cizmas said. “As glad as we were to hear this news, we’ve discussed that it is equally important to reduce the amount of waste we produce in the first place. We are continuing to brainstorm ways to reduce our trash production.”
Colin Maloney is a multimedia journalist for the MediaNews Group in Michigan, covering local news in the Downriver area for The News Herald.