Lansing Center

Convention Center near state capitol.

"The Center of it All" in Michigan's capitol city, the Lansing Center boasts nearly 2 acres of free span exhibit space; 12,000 sq of meeting space in 12 breakout room; 27,000 sq for registration and 13,320 sq ft of divisible ballroom. It is optimally situated on Michigan Avenue overlooking the Grand River. The Lansing Center's energy efficiency and comprehensive recycling programs are among the best in the meeting facilities industry.


333 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, Michigan


City of Lansing


Download Lansing Center Profile PDF

Lansing Center is the Capital City’s main destination for exhibits and meeting space. Located only two blocks from Michigan’s capital building, the convention center hosts a variety of conferences, expos and shows. The center is owned and operated by municipal authority LEPFA (Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority).

Lansing Center demonstrates its commitment to SERF’s mission of Practical Environmental Stewardship™ on many levels:

  • Central, walkable downtown location
  • Green cleaning equipment
  • Energy conservation
  • On site food service
  • Water efficiency
  • Efficient lighting

The most innovative aspect of their environmental stewardship is their comprehensive recycling program.

The center hosts 500 to 700 events a year. The sheer volume the center holds is great for local business owners as well as the downtown Lansing economy. However, it also generates a tremendous amount of waste. In 2009, the Lansing Center produced approximately 50 tons of waste.

Transportation, compactor operation and environmental impact are just a few of the multiple costs associated with waste. Increasing pressure on landfill space is likely to increase these expenses.

When the center was opened in 1987, little effort was given to recycling. In 2010, Lansing Center building engineer and recycling guru Dan Clark stepped in. Dan had previously worked to improve the Lansing School District’s recycling programs. The amount of waste that the Lansing Center produced, as well as the cost of its disposal, led him to begin a grass roots campaign to revamp Lansing Center’s recycling program.

Cardboard and boxboard was a large percentage of waste volume at the Center; at the time, combining these materials with general waste was standard procedure. After observingthese practices, Clark decided that cardboard recycling should be the first step in the program.


As with many projects of this sort, Lansing Centerfaced its first hurdle: cost. Cardboard balers are used to compact cardboard materials so that they may bestored, transported and recycled cost-effectively. However, Lansing Center did not have the budget to allow for the purchase of machinery that can cost upwards of $10,000.

The program jump-started after obtaining two discounted cardboard balers that were scheduled to be out of commission. Between April and December 2010, the center successfully recycled 35,000 pounds of cardboard.

The success of the cardboard recycling prompted Lansing Center to expand their program. The next step was to recycle plastics. This involved placing portable containers throughout the Center. The main difficulty was changing people’s behavior; some people argue that sorting out recycling makes doing everyday tasks more difficult. But as Dan Clark says, “It’s not going to make your job harder; it’s going to make your job smarter.”

As 2010 progressed, the recycling program continued to expand. After only a few months, Clark had developed a Green Team for Lansing Center, with one person representing each department in the building. By meeting every week, the Green Team was able to make the recycling more comprehensive and efficient.

Only a few months after the program began, the center kept 36,000 pounds of recycled material out of landfills. Then Clark raised the bar: he challenged the team to recycle 50,000 pounds by the year’s end. By the end of the year, the Green Team was recycling a variety of different materials, including Styrofoam and green glass, which is rare for such facilities.

Recycling Partners 3 CATCH the WAVE

Michigan State University

Michigan State University takes their No. 3 PVC (plastic piping, shrink wrap), No. 4 LDPE (shopping bags, squeeze bottles), No. 5 PP: (straws, ketchup bottles), No. 6 PS (carry-out containers, egg cartons), No. 7 Other (miscellaneous, large water jugs, sunglasses, etc) and brown and white glass products.

Local Government

The local government takes Community their green glass products.

Plastics Manufacturers

Plastic manufacturers take their styrofoam products.

Independent Buyers

Independent buyers take No. 1 PETE (clear plastics), No. 2 HDPE (clear milk jugs), No. 2 HDPE (color laundry detergent bottles), cardboard, boxboard and metal and aluminum cans products.


By the end of 2010, only nine months after the first cardboard box had been recycled, Lansing Center successfully implemented an extensive recycling program. There are now portable containers for many types of materials, and the entire staff participates enthusiastically. The success is evident in other ways:

  • 56,000 pounds of waste were recycled, exceeding Clark’s goal by 6,000 pounds.
  • The two facility trash compactors were emptied only five times in 2010. This is a significant reduction from the 10 times that they were emptied in 2009. The average cost of waste removal is $496 per empty.
  • Partnerships formed between Michigan State University and other independent facilities. Plastics are received free of charge by Michigan State, who uses them to reach their plastic quotas.
  • Materials such as white paper and cardboard can be sold to outside buyers, resulting in fiscal gain for LEPFA. What was once a cost center is now a profit center!
  • A demand for iron and other scrap has produced contractors who will collect these items from the center, free of charge.
  • Tons of waste have been kept out of landfills.

The goals for Lansing Center’s 2011 recycling program have increased even further. The target amount of materials to be recycled is now set at 115,000 pounds: this will be 35% to 40% of the building’s total waste, putting them on-par with recycling programs in convention centers across the country. There are also plans to expand the program to other LEPFA facilities.


And while the Lansing Center’s innovative system is impressive, it is not the only aspect of the building that incorporates Practical Environmental Stewardship™. The building uses at least 75 percent compact fluorescent lighting (used bulbs are also part of the recycling program), and has at least 50 percent manual and automatic dimmers. The facility is also water-efficient: their fixtures are low-water and hands-free. The building is cleaned with all Green Seal certified cleaning products, and their HVAC and lighting systems are maintained electronically to ensure efficiency.

For more information about the Lansing Center, please contact LEPFA executive director Scott Keith at 517-483-7400 x208 or