Grants available for Michigan communities to improve residential recycling

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 8, 2021
Jill A. Greenberg, EGLE spokesperson, GreenbergJ@Michigan.gov, 517-897-4965

$575,000 in funding to build on recent sucesses combating contamination in 100 Michigan communities by Michigan EGLE and The Recycling Partnership

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and The Recycling Partnership today announced $575,000 in grants for Michigan communities to dramatically improve residential recycling. The grants are available to introduce communitywide projects aimed at fighting recycling contamination and improve the quality of materials residents recycle at curbside or drop-off locations.

"After the impressive results from previous grant projects, we're excited to be able to offer this opportunity to additional Michigan communities in collaboration with The Recycling Partnership," said Liz Browne, director of EGLE's Materials Management Division.

In addition to continuing to build on the success of Michigan's award-winning Know It Before You Throw It recycling education campaign, grantees with curbside recycling service will use The Partnership's nationally acclaimed Feet on the Street cart-tagging program - an initiative designed to improve the quality of curbside recycling by providing residents personalized and real-time education and feedback on their curbside recycling practices. Grantees 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 the local recycling program.

"Capitalizing on national expertise through engaging The Recycling Partnership as part of EGLE's grant project was a brilliant strategy," said Mike Csapo, general manager at Resource Recovery and Recycling Authority (RRRASOC). "Our work is already yielding tangible, unexpected benefits beyond those anticipated when the project was conceived. The project will yield data, strategies, and technology that will provide lasting value in addition to accomplishing the original goals and objectives."

Selected drop-off recycling program grantees will benefit from inclusive signage and site improvements, security upgrades for features such as cameras, increased recycling participation and other opportunities to educate households on what is and isn't recyclable.

All Michigan community recycling programs are eligible to submit an application for grants up to $4 per household for curbside programs and up to $3 per household for drop-off programs. Applications are due Aug. 20, 2021, and complete instructions can be found in the request for proposal (RFP) at recyclingpartnership.org/.

The announcement today follows recent successes - including a RRRASOC member community, City of Novi, that successfully reduced drop off recycling contamination by almost 45 percent during the city's fall 2020 quality improvement program campaign. In addition, the City of Grand Rapid's curbside recycling program reduced contamination by over 40 percent in its residential recycling stream.

This spring, two additional communities - Auburn Hills and Canton - kicked off the Feet on the Street program with three more programs starting this summer. Auburn Hills and Canton report the program is an experience that draws them closer to the community and their residents.

"The Feet on the Street program has really helped us educate our residents," said Amy Hamilton of Downtown Development Authority for the City of Canton, which began targeted efforts to combat curbside contamination in April. "We knew we had a high participation rate, but we didn't realize how much confusion there was about what can go into the recycling cart. Being able to give residents real-time feedback on what is accepted in your curbside program has been invaluable. Thanks to Feet on the Street, we've established an open dialogue with our residents, which has allowed us to target our education efforts and greatly reduce our contamination levels. This program has been a win-win for everyone."

In addition to cart tagging, selected curbside grantees will benefit from the use of The Partnership's new mobile app, while all grantees will implement effective recycling education materials such as direct mail and targeted digital and social media campaigns.

Currently, Michigan's recycling industry generates nearly 36,000 jobs statewide and an annual payroll of $2.6 billion. Achieving EGLE's 45 percent recycling goal would support 138,000 new jobs in Michigan's recycling industry and provide $9 billion in annual labor income and $33.8 billion in economic output, according to a recent study commissioned by EGLE.

"We are thrilled to see measurable results from more than 100 Michigan communities working to improve the quality of their residential recycling streams," said Jill Martin, director of Community Programs at The Recycling Partnership. "We're excited to continue our partnership with Michigan EGLE and help the Great Lakes State capture more quality recyclables, creating a more circular economy, a less wasteful planet, and stronger, healthier Michigan communities."

To learn more, visit recyclingpartnership.org/

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