The City of Detroit was awarded nearly $1 million in grants earlier this month as part of an expansion in recycling education. The grant is part of a first-ever public-private collaboration to increase state recycling costing $2.2 million.
The expansion will build upon Michigan’s Know It Before You Throw It education campaign, which was launched in June 2019. The grants are funded by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, as well as The Recycling Partnership and the PepsiCo Foundation.
“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,” said Liesl Clark, director of the Michigan EGLE, in a statement.
EGLE said that Michigan currently recycles at a rate of 15 percent, the lowest in the Great Lakes region and among the lowest in the nation. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other state legislators want to double Michigan’s recycling rate to 30 percent by 2025 and ultimately reach an annual recycling rate of 45 percent, according to a statement from EGLE.
Education plays a key factor in increasing recycling, according to research commissioned by EGLE. The research showed that 50 percent of Michigan residents believe they can put plastic bags in curbside recycling and 76 percent are unaware that failing to rinse and dry items can contaminate everything in the recycling bin.
“We want to inform and inspire more people than ever before in Michigan about how to recycle better,” said EGLE’s Materials Management Division Director Jack Schinderle in a statement. “This campaign is a first of its kind for Michigan that offers multiple benefits.”
Detroit received nearly $800,000 in grants, with more than $458,000 coming from EGLE and $325,000 coming from The Recycling Partnership. The funds will be used to purchase 16,400 curbside recycling bins and nearly 4,000 multifamily containers to increase residential access to recycling and collection capacity throughout Detroit. They will also be used to increase collection capacity through commercial, public space and municipal recycling containers, as well as 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, in a statement. “The more we recycle, the more we reduce pollution and conserve resources. We are excited to work with the City of Detroit to provide curbside carts to more residents throughout the city.”
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]