June 2, 2015

Annual city recycling event going strong in its 21st year

A parking lot filled with scrap metal, old TV’s, outdated computers, books, refrigerators, microwaves and lawnmowers was the scene on Saturday at Recycle! East Lansing.

Recycle! East Lansing is an annual event held every year where people come and turn in items that are harder to recycle, such as old refrigerators and Styrofoam.

The event has been going on for 21 years, Recycle! East Lansing event coordinator Susan Schmidt said.

East Lansing resident Mary Anne Hagan said she is a regular at this event and an avid recycler.

“I store things in an extra garage that we have, and I could probably bring five carloads over here,” said Hagan.

Recycle! East Lansing turned out to be a very popular event, with dozens of cars showing up packed full of items.

“People save all year with their stuff they will have a place in their house with Styrofoam just for this events,” Schmidt said. “Some years have five or 600 cars go through so it’s a huge event.”

The items brought to the event are given to different vendors who decide what they want to do with them.

Old electronic items are a popular recyclable at the event, and Vintage Tech Recyclers, one of the event’s vendors, takes all of the electronic items and repurposes them, Vintage Tech Recyclers employee Steve Baccus said.

“We separate all the plastics (and) the metals (and) put them in their designated area, flatten them all down (and) ship them out to are facilities that actually (melts) them down to other reusable plastic and reusable metal,” Baccus said.

The people that come to this event really feel the importance of recycling and making sure what can be re-used is.

“We have a huge issue with too many items in our landfills,” Hagan said. “And it’s kind of a disgrace when there are so many usable and reusable items and things that can be refabricated and put to good use, so you almost get to the point where you feel guilty throwing something in the trash.”