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Garbage can in the kitchen.

Goals for sustainable garbage management

At the heart of our garbage management philosophy is a garbage reduction perspective. We are trying to reduce our waste going to landfills or incineration. Our ultimate goal is zero waste. Reduction and elimination of waste takes considerable effort, and it all starts with awareness. We have embarked on a trash and waste audit process to help us become more aware of what the Green Garage community is sending to the landfill/incinerator and to recycling. Our evolving waste handling process begins with the following strategies:

1. Reduce our usage of paper

2. Reduce our food wastes and need for disposable products related to food and beverage service

3. Compost as much food waste and other organic matter as possible

4. Reuse or recycle what cannot be composted

5. Purchase durable, used, recycled, and/or local materials whenever possible

6. Purchase with maintenance, packaging and transportation waste in mind

7. Consult the Green Garage and wider communities for items that seem un-recyclable

8. Be conscious of what we send to the landfill/incinerator.

Sustainable garbage management

After we have considered reduction of material coming into the building, and have recycled or composted all appropriate material, anything left is considered garbage. Every time the garbage is taken out it is weighed and the weight is charted with the intent that it goes down with time (see Waste Statistics). The contents of our garbage are periodically examined to determine if any items that had been thrown out could have been placed into recycling.

Cans of last resort

Restroom trash cans: Trash cans are available in each stall of each restroom for your convenience and privacy. Trash cans are also located in the common areas of each restroom. The white receptacles lined with green liners under the sinks ARE NOT FOR TRASH. These containers are ONLY for collecting gently used paper towels from hand drying, to be composted (see Sustainable Restrooms) and returned to the earth. The tissue wrappers on the toilet tissue can also be placed in the compostable paper towel stream. Recyclables from restrooms, such as toilet paper tubes, should be brought up front and sorted into the appropriate bins in the kitchen or library.

Kitchen trash can: There is a lidded trash can under the counter near the coffee station. This is only for non-recyclable trash. Please prepare and sort recyclables (plastic, metal, Styrofoam, cardboard, glass, paper, etc.) into the appropriate bins in the kitchen and annex.

Annex trash can: The annex has trash and recycling receptacles available in that part of the building. The restroom, kitchen, and annex trash cans are weighed so that we can track our waste and emptied daily. If you notice recyclable items in the trash, trash cans that are missing their liners, or trash that needs to be emptied or other attention, please notify Matthew Piper, Peggy Brennan or Kirsten Lyons.

Rolling curbside trash can: The large rolling trash can with 4444 stenciled on the side is for our weekly (Friday) city trash pickup. As a courtesy to our next door neighbors in the Victorian, we roll their cans out while we’re rolling out our own. All trash in the rolling curbside trash cans must be bagged. This is so that there is no trash blowing around on city streets if the lids blow open, and so nothing falls out when the machine transfers it into the truck. The can was purchased from and is serviced by the City of Detroit, and the trash pickup service is billed annually with our taxes.

Bulk curbside pickup: The City of Detroit offers curbside bulk pickup four times per year. Details of this service can be found at the city’s website under the Department of Public Works sections.

Waste reduction and trash resources

INFORM website, a Detroit recycling company

Related pages