Recycling renaissance

Detroit District Human Resources Manager Lee Ward films a sustainability video with help from acting multimedia specialists Steve Waldorf and Ken Behm.

Detroit District takes recycling seriously.

The district diverted 4,920 tons of materials from landfills last year, slashing the amount of trash it generates by about 19 percent.

This saved the district more than $91,000 — up from about $14,000 the year before.

It also helped the district, which is part of Great Lakes Area, save approximately 83,000 trees, 34.5 million gallons of water, 20,000 megawatts of power, 150 tons of air pollution, 1.8 million gallons of oil, and 16,000 cubic yards of landfill space.

“We’ve worked hard to educate our employees about the benefits of recycling, not only in terms of dollars and cents, but also in terms of what it means for the world we all share,” said District Manager Lee Thompson.

Managers use videos and other tools to teach employees about sustainability, helping to boost the district’s recycling rate to 54 percent.

This prompted recognition from Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who honored the district last year for exceeding the state’s 30 percent target rate.

The district recently received another honor: one of this year’s 10 Postmaster General Sustainability Excellence Awards.

“Receiving the Postmaster General award has inspired us to keep going and building on our success,” Thompson said.