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Michigan EGLE and The Recycling Partnership award grants to communities

Officials say the funding will impact 98 communities, helping 362,000 households improve the quantity and quality of their recycling.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and The Recycling Partnership, Falls Church, Virginia, have announced nearly $791,000 in grants to nearly 100 Michigan communities to improve the capture of high-quality recyclables across the state through community recycling improvement projects that will be implemented this year.  

According to a news release from EGLE, the 98 Michigan communities involved will develop and implement operational and educational strategies to improve the quality of their recycling. The organization says this will lead to improved recycling statistics and a reduction in recycling contamination from trash getting mixed in with recyclables.

“We were so pleased to have the opportunity to again collaborate with The Recycling Partnership and Michigan communities on this important project,” says Emily Freeman, recycling specialist from the materials management division at EGLE. “The results from last year have been remarkable, and we’re thrilled to know that it will continue to benefit local recycling programs across the state.” 

The statewide initiative builds upon the success of Michigan’s “Know It Before You Throw It” recycling education campaign EGLE launched in 2019. It will also leverage The Recycling Partnership’s Feet on the Street cart-tagging recycling education program, an initiative designed to improve the quality of curbside recycling by providing residents with personalized, real-time education and feedback on their curbside recycling practices. Communities with drop-off recycling services will use a modified version of the Feet on the Street program to combat recycling contamination and illegal dumping at recycling drop-off sites while also improving awareness and participation in recycling. 

“The Recycling Partnership is thrilled to continue supporting the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and communities across the Great Lakes state to improve the quality of their residential recycling streams,” says Cassandra Ford, community program manager at The Recycling Partnership. “When we help Michiganders recycle, we’re creating a cleaner and less wasteful planet while building stronger, healthier Michigan communities.” 

Through The Recycling Partnership’s Feet on the Street recycling education program, some communities have seen a 57 percent decrease in nonrecyclables and an average 27 percent increase in the overall capture of quality recyclables that can then be transformed into new products and packaging.  

The community recycling education and quality improvement projects will begin as early as March and continue through the end of October. More than $790,000 in grant funding will be allocated to 13 recycling program grantees representing more than 362,000 households across the Great Lakes states: 

  • Alger County; 

  • Brighton; 

  • Canton Township;  

  • Grand Rapids; 

  • Kalamazoo; 

  • Lansing; 

  • Montcalm County; 

  • Newaygo County; 

  • Resource Recovery and Recycling Authority of Southwest Oakland;  

  • Saugatuck, Douglass, Saugatuck Township (Tri-Cities Recycling Committee); 

  • Washtenaw Regional Resource Management Authority;  

  • Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority; and 

  • Westland. 

In addition to supporting the 13 Phase II grantees, EGLE and The Recycling Partnership recently launched The Michigan Small Community Education Grant Program, which provides communities with fewer than 10,000 households recycling education and outreach materials to inform residents about how, where and why to recycle. 

This 2022 project is building on the impact made during a 2021 project with a similar goal to improve recycling across Michigan that reached 100 communities. Of the 13 grantees in the 2022 project, five of them are prior grantees using data gathered in the first round to continue and further their impact.  

Overall, EGLE says Michigan’s recycling industry supports 36,000 jobs statewide, an annual payroll of $2.6 billion according to a 2020 study commissioned by Michigan EGLE. To learn more about how Michigan EGLE and The Recycling Partnership are teaming up to improve recycling across the state, click here.