Ann Arbor City Council voted 10-1 to OK an $853,211 contractwith the local nonprofit Ecology Center for education, outreach and social-based marketing over the next five years. That includes a marketing campaign to educate the community more about recycling, composting, trash and circular-economy programs and services. “Recycling education is, of course, imperative because we have new residents coming in all the time,” Mayor Christopher Taylor said, referring to University of Michigan students and others. “Further, the recycle marketplace changes all the time.”
Council Member Ali Ramlawi, D-5th Ward, said the contract jumped out at him as substantial. “As we move forward with implementing new ways of trying to get to carbon-neutrality or something close to that, I understand the need to spend and educate,” he said, asking about the goals and metrics to measure success of the program.
The new contract supports three goals: increasing the recycling rate in the commercial sector, moving toward a more circular economy reducing waste generated, and raising community awareness about appropriate handling of recyclable, compostable and trash materials to influence behavior change, said Sarah Mason, the city’s resource recovery manager.