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Detroit Has Curbside Recycling?

A very common question we receive! But it’s hard to believe it has been almost 5 years since Detroit embarked on a journey toward a citywide recycling program.

3rd grade student from FLICS sent us a playful picture after he received his recycling cart!

The city started the initiative as an opt-in program where residents could purchase a 64 gallon blue recycling container and have it serviced every other week by their waste hauler, Green For Life Environmental or Advanced Disposal.

3rd grade student from FLICS sent us a playful picture after he received his recycling cart!

While Green Living Science did not entirely agree with the opt-in aspect of the program, we understood the rationale. You cannot give out recycling carts and expect everyone to use it properly, especially with 207,974 residents who are eligible. This type of education is not always as simple as a flier plopped in the cart either. People interpret the meanings of certain materials differently, for instance “plastic” does not mean you can recycle plastic bags, candy wrappers, or chip bags; and “paper” does not mean you can recycle paper towels or paper plates!

With all the waste we create today, from milk jugs to packaging peanuts, it can be difficult to determine what materials are accepted in the curbside recycling program. That is why Green Living Science partners with the City of Detroit – Department of Public Works to provide free recycling carts to Detroit residents who receive education. Over the past 4 years, we have been going to block club meetings in church basements, parent meetings at schools and community events across Detroit. To date, we have signed up nearly 15,000 residents for a free recycling cart!

With a city the size of Detroit, it can be difficult to reach every resident. That is why Green Living Science helped to create an online quiz to reach more residents and at their convenience. Don’t worry it is not a pass or fail type of quiz like in 10th grade math class! It takes less than 5 minutes and asks residents to identify where different household waste materials should go; in their curbside recycling cart, their garbage can or the City of Detroit drop off recycling center, Recycle Here!

After hosting nearly 250 workshops it is time to get creative to reach more Detroiters and we need your help! Connect us with your Detroit group! It’s easy; simply visit to host a Green Living Science representative at your next block club meeting, parent meeting or community event! With your help, together we can create a more sustainable city where everyone has access to recycling at their home.

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