Michigan awards grants to improve recycling infrastructure

Michigan awards grants to improve recycling infrastructure

More than $1 million in grants will help expand recycling programs, support development in nation's lowest ranking recycling cities.

September 9, 2019

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has announced infrastructure grants totaling $1.23 million that it says will improve and expand recycling programs in eight Lower Peninsula counties.

The grants will also support the new “Know It Before You Throw It” campaign, EGLE’s first statewide effort to better inform residents of what can and can’t be recycled and how to recycle correctly.

“We want to inspire and inform more people than ever before in Michigan about how to recycle better and more frequently,” says EGLE Director Liesl Clark. “’Know It Before You Throw It’ is a campaign for Michigan that offers multiple benefits. Increasing recycling and improving the quality of materials we’re recycling saves energy, reduces water use, decreases greenhouse gases, conserves resources and translates into local jobs.”

EGLE’s goal is to grow awareness of cleaner recycling practices to reduce the amount of contaminated materials improperly going into recycling bins. The state wants to double Michigan’s recycling rate to 30 percent by 2025 and reach 45 percent annually. Michigan’s current 15 percent recycling rate is the lowest in the Great Lakes region and ranks among the nation’s lowest, according to a press release from EGLE.

Achieving EGLE’s 30 percent recycling goal would produce as many as 12,986 jobs, which translates into an economic impact of up to $300 million annually, according to findings from the Expanding Recycling in Michigan Report prepared for the Michigan Recycling Partnership.

The EGLE grants will go to:

  • Bay City ($40,632) to establish an enhanced single-stream recycling program and open a drop-off collection site for hard-to-process materials that will serve all of Bay County;
  • Branch County Conservation District ($35,400) to improve recycling collection capacity in the county through a public-private partnership between the Conservation District and the Biz Aid LLC materials recovery facility;
  • Flint ($196,000) to enhance the processing capacity of the anaerobic digester facility at its wastewater treatment plant, which is operated through a collaboration with BioWorks Energy LLC;
  • Forgotten Harvest, Oak Park, ($19,259) to purchase collection infrastructure that will improve efficiency at the food, rescue and distribution center that serves Oakland County and metro Detroit residents;
  • Isabella County ($78,902) to enhance its drop-off recycling program by redesigning and relocating drop-off recycling sites across the county with the aim to provide longer operating hours and more access to multifamily buildings in high-traffic areas that offer greater access to both Isabella County residents and residents in rural areas of bordering counties;
  • Lansing/East Lansing ($480,000) to help Ingham County’s two largest municipalities purchase a recycling collection truck that will address anticipated collection route increases from a new material recovery facility (MRF) being built in Lansing by 2020 (The new recycling facility will eliminate each city’s need to ship recyclables nearly 100 miles east to Wayne County for processing. The project also offers the potential for additional central Michigan communities to make the switch and lower their hauling costs. Currently, recycling haulers’ only options are to go to Grand Rapids or Traverse City.); 
  • Orion Township ($239,836) to support the Oakland County community’s plan to shift from subscription-based curbside recycling service to single-hauler, cart-based curbside recycling for township residents; 
  • Sanilac County ($129,836) to expand its recycling collection program by adding storage that will enable staff to accept recyclable materials that are currently not being collected and increase recycling collection locations throughout the county; and
  • Wayne County Airport Authority ($10,400) to set up liquid disposal and bottle collection stations at the Detroit Metro Airport security checkpoints. Passengers may not take liquids through the checkpoints. Each year 100 tons of waste are disposed from these locations that could be diverted from landfills if properly recycled.

The $1.23 million in grants are among 26 grants totaling more than $5.96 million that EGLE is allocating in 2019 to improve recycling infrastructure and support development of emerging and new marketplace opportunities for recyclable materials in 16 counties covering every region of the state.