Not So Green
McMurtrie is now drafting a new ten-year plan. Once again, the goal will be to get homeowners' diversion rate to 60 percent, and raise the overall recycling rate from 31 percent to 45 percent. McMurtrie expected to present the draft at a city council working session in December, and hopes to have the plan finalized early this year.
Pyle says one way the city aims to get there is by increasing commercial recycling, which currently serves only 40 to 50 percent of the city's businesses. "Downtown already does really well," she says, and RAA piloted a commercial recycling program on Jackson and Stadium last fall. It plans to roll the system out citywide this year--just in time, since city council made recycling mandatory for businesses by the end of 2013.
Ann Arbor's biggest challenge is the same as always: getting more people who live in large apartment and condo complexes to recycle. "It's a struggle nationwide," says Lignell. "Nobody's cracked multifamily." RAA estimates that only 10 percent of its collections come from apartments and condos--even though they make up half of the city's households.