During the 1980s the Ecology Center developed programs and partnerships with municipal government and local residents. Significant milestones included a merger between the EC and Recycle Ann Arbor and the EC. Increasing awareness about, and participation in, recycling efforts included the extension of recycling collection to include monthly (later weekly) residential pickup, recruiting volunteer block coordinators to spread the word, and establishing mandatory recycling in Ann Arbor that was approved in 1990. As the state and city faced a shortage of landfill space in the 1980s, the EC also organized to reduce and contain pollution from solid waste.

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