Eastown, City of Grand Rapids test new recycling program for public spaces

Deborah Johnson Wood

Recycling in Kent County became easier last month with the introduction of single-stream recycling, and Grand Rapids' Eastown Business Association (EBA) wants to capitalize on that. Beginning this week, six blue and yellow recycle carts are available throughout the Eastown business district where pedestrians can deposit empty plastic water bottles, pop cans or clean paper.

For several weeks, the EBA and the Grand Rapids streets and sanitation department will test the public recycling idea with a goal to launch it throughout the Eastown business district.

The idea began a couple of years ago when Eastown business Spirit Dreams no longer needed a rented dumpster. Co-owner and EBA President Jaye Van Lenten says she asked the city for trash and recycling pick up at the store.

"I was told I couldn't do it because it wasn't the norm and other businesses couldn't do it," Van Lenten says. "Then the Eastown streetscape committee I'm on wanted to have recycling for pedestrians, and city trash and recycle pickup for businesses." The group decided to wait until single-stream recycling began.

The six recycling carts are set up next to public trashcans on Wealthy St., Lake Dr. and Robinson Rd. Each cart's lid has a hole in it just large enough to accommodate pop cans and bottles. City workers and the EBA will assess the program's effectiveness and ease of use, then adjust the process as needed.

"The goal is to improve and expand it, not to stop it," says Van Lenten. "I certainly got the impression that the city hopes to work out the bugs and make this available in other business districts, but that's up to the streets and sanitation department."

Van Lenten adds the EBA met with city officials last Monday to discuss a proposed pilot trash and recycle pickup program for commercial properties, which could be a less expensive option than dumpsters.

Source: Jaye Van Lenten, Spirit Dreams and Eastown Business Association

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Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected] Development News tips can be sent to [email protected]
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