Ann Arbor extends ‘Feet on the Street’ recycling monitoring program

The Material Recovery Facility presort station is the entry point for all materials sorted at the facility. Sorters remove items like trash, plastic bags and electronics to prevent them from damaging the equipment and contaminating the recyclables. (Recycle Ann Arbor)

ANN ARBOR – Recycling “detectives” will continue tagging recycling carts for an extra week, according to the City of Ann Arbor.

Through the city’s annual “Feet on the Street” recycling monitoring program, individuals are sent out to investigate residential recycling carts and give Tree Town residents real-time feedback.

The communitywide initiative was set to end on Friday, Aug. 6, but will now end one week later on Aug. 12.

“Feet on the Street” aims to improve the quality of recycling in residents’ single-stream curbside recycling carts through recycling education. It is done as a collaborative effort launched in 70 cities and towns around the U.S.

Residents are encouraged to recycle paper and cartons, cardboard, metal items (such as cans), plastics (like bottles, jars and jugs) and glass containers.

Inspectors put red tags on recycling containers that have non-recyclable materials, such as plastic bags, hoses, chains, yard waste or food waste. Carts are not serviced until contaminated items or nonrecyclables are removed.

The initiative is put together by the City of Ann Arbor Public Works and Office of Sustainability in partnership with the Recycling Partnership, the Washtenaw Regional Resource Management Authority (WRRMA), Recycle Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County. It is funded by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

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Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.