The city of Detroit is receiving some $800,000 in grants designed “to support the largest expansion of recycling in the city’s history,” according to the city and the organizations providing the funding.
A news release issued by The Recycling Partnership and the PepsiCo Foundation—providers of the grant money—says the funds are “part of a first-ever, $2.2 million public-private collaboration to increase recycling education statewide in 2020,” citing Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) Director Liesl Clark.
The combined effort of EGLE, The Recycling Partnership and the PepsiCo Foundation “will help build on the success of Michigan’s national award-winning Know It Before You Throw It recycling education campaign that EGLE launched last year,” according to the groups.
“We are committed to informing and inspiring more people than ever before in Detroit and across Michigan about how to recycle better,” Clark said during an early January news conference at the Detroit Department of Public Works. She was joined at that conference by Detroit Office of Sustainability Director Joel Howrani Heeres and other city, state and nonprofit officials.
“Increasing recycling and improving the quality of materials we’re recycling is not only the right thing to do for our environment, but it also saves energy, reduces water use, decreases greenhouse gases, conserves resources and translates into local jobs,” Clark added.
The aim of the Know It Before You Throw It statewide push is to better inform Michiganders on what can – and cannot – be placed into a recycling bin and how to manage their bins correctly.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state legislators want to double Michigan’s recycling rate to 30 percent by 2025 and ultimately reach 45 percent annually. The groups describe Michigan’s current 15 percent recycling rate as “the lowest in the Great Lakes region and [ranking] among the nation’s lowest.”
EGLE and its campaign partners across the state say they are promoting awareness of cleaner recycling practices to reduce the amount of contaminated materials improperly going into recycling bins.
The nearly $800,000 in grants to Detroit includes more than $458,000 from EGLE and $325,000 from The Recycling Partnership designed to help fund new services offered in 2020 by the city’s Department of Public Works in its multi-family, commercial and public space recycling programs.
“The Recycling Partnership’s grant of $325,000 is its first-ever to Detroit and will help spur a citywide education campaign rolling out in 2020 to increase participation in curbside and multifamily recycling programs,” commented Howrani Heeres.
The collaboration between Detroit, EGLE and The Recycling Partnership, with what they call “special support” from the PepsiCo Foundation, has a goal of increasing residential access to recycling and collection capacity in Detroit through the purchase of 16,400 curbside recycling carts and nearly 4,000 multi-family containers. Grant funds also will provide additional collection capacity through commercial, public space and municipal recycling containers of various sizes, plus a collection vehicle.
“Implementing curbside recycling with carts is an exciting initiative that can have huge benefits for the city,” said Cody Marshall, chief community strategy officer at The Recycling Partnership. “We are excited to work with the city of Detroit to provide curbside carts to more residents throughout the city.”
“We’re proud to work with The Recycling Partnership and city and state leaders to make these important investments in Detroit that will help more than 76,000 families increase their recycling and capture an estimated additional 1,315 tons of recyclables per year,” remarked Tim Carey, Vice President, Sustainability PepsiCo Beverages North America.
State legislators in Michigan have increased EGLE’s funding for recycling projects from $2 million in fiscal year 2018 to $15 million in the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years. The additional funds are being targeted toward supporting development of recycling markets, increasing access to recycling opportunities, and supporting planning efforts to grow recycling at the local level.
In addition to the Detroit grant, EGLE and The Recycling Partnership say new 2020 grant opportunities in Michigan total $1.5 million to communities seeking to improve material quality in residential curbside and drop-off recycling programs.