Recycling takes center stage with Detroit’s new Sustainability Action Agenda, a long-term plan to best use city resources to address climate change, public health, mobility, the environment, access to affordable housing, and other matters.
The agenda was developed over the last year through a process that gauged input from more than 6,800 Detroit residents. The expansion is funded by more than $1 million in city funding and grants.
“Smart use of our resources is imperative, and we have to do it in ways that prioritize our health, environment, the vitality of our neighborhoods, and our ability to grow our economy so that all Detroiters have access to opportunity,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “That includes looking at how the city of Detroit operates and finding ways we can deliver critical public services more efficiently.”
One of the agenda’s goals is to expand recycling in Detroit. In the next year, the city plans to launch a citywide education campaign to increase participation in single-family curbside recycling to 16,000 additional homes; launch Detroit’s first recycling program for multifamily and commercial properties, including apartment buildings, to service more than 1,500 multifamily and commercial customers; provide recycling options in 150 public spaces including parks, basketball courts, and bus stops; and expanding recycling service in Detroit facilities.
The recycling expansion advances three of the 43 actions the city will take to achieve 10 goals to protect public health, reduce the cost of housing, support green jobs, enhance mobility, improve the environment, transform vacant lots, and prepare the city for climate change.
Progress toward the goals will be tracked by 28 measurable indicators that are outlined in the agenda.
“The actions outlined in this agenda will collectively have a powerful positive impact for Detroit residents by improving the health of residents, reducing utility costs, providing better access to city services, and ensuring that residents can survive and thrive through the impacts of climate change,” says Joel Howrani Heeres, director of sustainability for Detroit.
The city appointed a Sustainability Advisory Commission with representatives from 20 community groups, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to advise on the development and implementation of the agenda. It also convened an interdepartmental working group of 22 city departments that met monthly to help shape the agenda.
The Office of Sustainability also hired 14 part-time sustainability ambassadors to talk with residents and attend more than 100 community events. Additional input was gathered through online platforms, surveys in five languages, four town hall meetings, and seven focus groups with populations that are historically underrepresented in planning processes.
Development of the agenda was funded by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, with additional support from Bloomberg Associates.
The agenda is available here.