The Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI), Falls Church, Virginia, has awarded Kent County, Michigan, with an education grant to increase the awareness of recycling clean and empty cups and takeout food containers. According to a news release from the Foodservice Packaging Institute, the community is the first in Michigan and sixth in the nation to receive this grant.
Kent County reports that it will use the FPI Community Partnership education grant to raise resident awareness about what can and cannot be recycled. In addition to paper, cardboard, metals, glass and cartons, Kent County residents can recycle clean and empty plastic cups and containers as well as pizza boxes.
“Kent County is committed to reducing landfill waste by 90 percent by 2030,” says Kristen Wieland, communications and marketing manager for Kent County Department of Public Works. “FPI’s grant helps us educate our community to participate in recycling at home, including clean pizza boxes and plastic cups and containers.”
In a recent survey of more than 21,000 Kent County residents, about 38 percent of respondents said their motivation to recycle is because it is good for the planet and to keep plastics and other materials out of oceans. About a quarter of respondents said keeping materials out of landfills was their motivation to recycle.
“We’ve learned that most residents across Michigan and the entire nation want to recycle the takeout items they use frequently,” says Natha Dempsey, vice president of FPI. “FPI is pleased to partner with Kent County so its 309,500 households may now recycle these items.”
FPI’s grant to Kent County was announced at a joint press conference with Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). The department has devoted about $450,000 to assist recycling and recovery in west Michigan. “We were excited and humbled to present our grant alongside EGLE’s,” Dempsey adds. “FPI members employ nearly 4,000 Michiganders with a total payroll of more than $250 million.”
FPI Community Partners include Washington, D.C.; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; Denver; and Millennium Recycling in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. These communities and groups received education grant assistance, communication resources and technical assistance from FPI as they expanded their recycling programs to include foodservice packaging. In each of these communities, the outreach campaigns reminded residents of what to recycle and that only clean and empty items should be recycled. As a result, FPI reports that these communities have seen quality recyclables increase and contamination decrease.