Map showing Michigan and surrounding area.

The state of Michigan aims to achieve a 30% recycling rate by 2025. | Alexander Lukatskiy/Shutterstock

A state-of-the-art MRF, a recyclables sorting robot, resumed glass collections – these are a few projects that recently received grants from the state of Michigan. 

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) in late July announced grants to support recycling in the state. The department has a larger pot of cash to work with this year because lawmakers in December passed a bill boosting recycling grant funding from $2 million last year to $15 million this year. 

The grants announced in late July total over $2.8 million. 

On July 29, EGLE announced the following awards: 

  • $800,000: Grant will support Emmet County Department of Public Works’ $1.5 million plan to upgrade its MRF technology, including installation of a sorting robot
  • $474,000: Money will support MRF operator American Waste’s $1.3 million plan to upgrade sorting equipment, including installing an optical sorter, to produce cleaner mixed-paper bales for mills in the area. The MRF, in Traverse City, Mich., sorts 30,000 tons per year from 19 northern Michigan counties. 

On July 31, EGLE announced another seven grants to support recycling in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula:

  •  $800,000: Grant will support the Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority’s (MCSWMA) nearly $6 million plan to replace its recycling processing center with a state-of-the-art MRF. The project will allow for the acceptance of glass, which hasn’t been the case for several years in the Marquette area. Closed Loop Partners is helping to finance this project. 
  • $374,400: The money will help Kinross Township officials’ $624,000 plan to expand and enhance their organics program by increasing the ability to collect and process food scrap from Chippewa and Mackinac counties.
  • $221,328: The money will help Sands Township with its construction of a recycling/transfer station in Marquette, expanding capacity and the list of accepted materials. 
  • $65,152: The funds will go toward a $108,000 effort by nonprofit electronics recycling organization Comprenew and Goodwill of Upper Michigan to expand their electronics recycling program in the Upper Peninsula.
  • $46,760: The grant will help support Mackinac Island’s $84,000 plan for a new storage building, part of an effort to expand its existing recycling collection program.
  • $24,894: The money will support Michigan Technological University’s $41,000 expansion of its campus recycling program and launch a new food scrap collection program in cafeterias.
  • $8,363: The funds will support the city of Hancock’s $14,000 enhancement of its curbside collection program by switching 400 customers from their own bins to standardized 35-gallon carts.

The grants were awarded as part of the state’s “Know It Before You Throw It” recycling outreach campaign, which was launched in June. The goal is to boost recycling volumes and reduce contamination. 

Michigan’s goal is to achieve a 30% recycling rate by 2025. The number is currently around 15%, the lowest in the Great Lakes region and less than half the national average. 

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