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Two events celebrate one big Earth Day

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published April 11, 2017

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ROYAL OAK — From recycling to gardening to renewable energy, Earth Day events in the city will provide knowledge and know-how this Saturday.

Earth Day in Royal Oak, presented by the Royal Oak Environmental Advisory Board, will take place 7 a.m.-1 p.m. April 22 in the west porch of the Royal Oak Farmers Market, 316 E. 11 Mile Road. 

Rain barrels will be available for $60, and the event will serve as a sneak peek of the new 65-gallon recycling cart for residents.

Information will be provided during the event on what can and cannot go into the new bins.

Residents have been anticipating the arrival of the new single-stream recycling containers since the switch was discussed last year and voters approved renewing the solid waste and recycling millage levy for a period not to exceed five years, up to 1 mill, to defray the costs of refuse collection, disposal and curbside recycling.

“We’re building up for it,” said Director of the Departments of Public Services and Recreation Greg Rassel.

“They are going to have a bin there to see what’s coming. The bins will not be delivered to residents until sometime between July 15 and Sept. 15.”

Rassel said the city will begin an informational campaign this summer to explain how mixed recycling works.

The South Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority recycling facility on Coolidge Highway is receiving some upgrades to support the new program, so Rassel said there are many moving parts that need to be in place before the new system is implemented.

“This is a conversion for all of SOCRRA — there are nine members of SOCRRA — so it’s more than just Royal Oak getting new bins here,” Rassel said. “There is a rollout of about 100,000 residents that are going to be getting a bin.”

Kids’ activities will be provided during Earth Day in Royal Oak courtesy of the city employees’ green team, and representatives from the Royal Oak Public Library will be on hand to explain how Curious George recycles.

Other event happenings will include a native plant sale and talks by local experts on landscaping, backyard gardening, rooftop solar panels and more. Information will be available about joining the Royal Oak Nature Society, Clinton River Watershed Council and Sierra Club.

Rain barrels may be preordered to guarantee price by visiting mirainbarrel.com/signup.

The Detroit Zoo will host its fifth annual GreenFest from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. the same day.

GreenFest activities include chemistry demonstrations, worm-composting education, zookeeper talks and a sustainability tour highlighting the Detroit Zoological Society’s green efforts.

Event organizers said GreenFest was created to celebrate Earth Day while engaging the community in environmental stewardship.

Officials said recent Greenprint efforts at the zoo include discontinuing the sale of bottled water on Detroit Zoo grounds, which keeps 60,000 plastic bottles out of the waste stream annually; powering zoo operations with 100 percent renewable electricity from wind farms; and building an anaerobic digester that annually converts 400 tons of animal manure into methane-rich gas to power the zoo’s animal hospital.

A traveling exhibition by Art Road will be unveiled during the event, illustrating the impact of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes.

“This event is very important to us,” said Detroit Zoological Society Communications Manager Jennie Miller via email. “As a celebration of Earth Day, GreenFest gives us a really great opportunity to share our award-winning efforts in sustainability in a fun way and encourage others to join us on our green journey.”

GreenFest is supported by DTE Energy and Kroger.

All GreenFest activities are free with zoo admission, and attendees who bring a cellphone for recycling will receive a reduced zoo admission price of $9. Admission is free for Detroit Zoological Society members.

For more information about GreenFest, call (248) 541-5717 or visit detroitzoo.org.

To learn more about Royal Oak Earth Day, visit romi.gov.

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