The Ecology Center and Recycle Ann Arbor Team Up to Bring Recycling to Dearborn Public Schools

The Ecology Center and Recycle Ann Arbor are thrilled to have recently received a $25,000 grant from the City of Dearborn to engage the city, public schools and larger community in a thoughtful, collaborative and results-driven process to build recycling awareness within Dearborn’s public school system.  The City of Dearborn does have a curbside recycling program, but has struggled to achieve high participation rates and a quality mix of products capable of being marketed.  There has been little to no recycling activity in the schools, further inhibiting community awareness and buy-in to the larger community effort.

The pilot recycling project, named Dearborn Education and Action on Recycling (DEAR), will establish recycling education and collection systems in four of Dearborn's elementary and middle schools.  In preparation for DEAR, a community engagement process will be initiated with local ethnic, civic and educational leaders to assist in developing culturally appropriate assessment and educational resources for Dearborn’s diverse population.

Producing a replicable “blueprint for action” based on the experience in the four schools is a key outcome, built on the community’s values of responsibility, integrity and citizenship.

Reflecting on the desired outcomes for the pilot program, Bryan Weinert, Zero Waste Advocate at Recycle Ann Arbor says that, “The expectation is that the unique partnership between the City of Dearborn, Dearborn Public Schools, the Ecology Center and Recycle Ann Arbor will yield some insight and experience on what programs, services, educational efforts and community outreach will not only produce greater recovery and awareness in the schools themselves, but also in the surrounding neighborhoods where student recycling commitment can shape positive household recycling behaviors.  Greater recovery will also reduce the number of trash dumpsters at the participating schools and/or a reduction in the frequency of refuse collections, saving the schools money in the process.”

For more information on this pilot project, please feel free to contact Bryan Weinert at bryancweinert@recycleannarbor.org.