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Why is GLS so important to the City of Detroit’s recycling efforts?

An interview with Madison Kraus, Recycling Coordinator with the City of Detroit

Since the formation of Green Living Science in 2009, the City of Detroit has relied on them to increase their own capacity to educate residents about recycling. After signing an updated contract with the City of Detroit for educational services, we sat down with Madi Kraus, Recycling Coordinator (and past employee of Green Living Science) to dive deeper into why the city values their relationship with GLS.

To get us going, can you share why this partnership with GLS is so important for the city?

Green Living Science has been instrumental in the grassroots movement towards sustainability. Their expertise in Zero Waste and their network of Recycling Ambassadors that work and live in Detroit have helped provide recycling services to thousands of Detroiters over the years. GLS gives the Department of Public Works the extended capacity and community connections we need to teach Detroiters how and what to recycle!

We really appreciate the support from the city and want to return that support. Can you share what future goals the city has to expand recycling?

The City hopes to achieve a 30% diversion rate by 2029. In 2020, our diversion rate was 7% - we have a long way to go, but have big plans and collaborations in the works to increase the reach and accessibility of our recycling programs.

GLS would love to help you meet that goal. What can our supporters, and residents do to help further these shared goals of GLS and the City of Detroit?

RECYCLE! Recycle at home, recycle in our parks (find our bright blue “Bottles and Cans Only” recycling bins), and recycle at your business! We need as many recycling champions in Detroit as possible.

BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR! Be sure you are following the City’s Waste Pickup Guidelines for curbside pickup, so the Department of Public Works can provide you with the best service possible.

ADVOCATE! Talk to your councilperson, district managers, and other leaders in your community. Let them know that recycling is important to you! Advocacy has historically pushed forward recycling in Detroit, and it will continue to play a big role in how we evolve our recycling and waste management programs.

The city has been contracting with GLS for recycling education since its formation. What new, innovative, or exciting changes are in this current contract that the city is excited about?

Our new contract with GLS has a lot of flexibility to allow us to dig deeper into new practices and pilot projects to expand recycling access and improve the quality of our recycling stream.

To account for low signup rates at community events during COVID, this new contract also creates an avenue for GLS to canvas Detroit Door to Door. This program was piloted in the Spring of 2022 and will help us expand our reach to underserved neighborhoods.

And lastly, what other Zero Waste initiatives does the City hope to plan in the future?

We hope to create a Zero Waste plan and pilot curbside composting to help the City achieve their waste diversion goals. Help us advocate for these projects by letting your council members know this is important to our community!

Thank you to Madi and the City of Detroit for their continuous support of the work done here at Green Living Science. We appreciate the confidence you have in our partnership and look forward to helping reach these shared goals together.

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