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Moving toward a sustainable future: EGLE director delivers keynote address at NextCycle Michigan Summer Showcase

Phil Roos, director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), delivered the keynote address last week at the NextCycle Michigan Summer Showcase award ceremony at Eastern Michigan University.

EGLE Director Phil Roos delivering keynote address at NextCycle Michigan Summer Showcase.

EGLE Director Phil Roos delivering keynote address at NextCycle Michigan Summer Showcase.


NextCycle Michigan, an EGLE initiative, is designed to connect entrepreneurs, companies, organizations, and communities to technical support, financial resources, and capacity building for recycling, recovery, and reuse initiative.

The event highlighted the teams that won awards for innovative projects they created that addressed organics recovery, new material recovery technologies, waste minimization techniques, and other advancements in sustainable materials management.

“It’s imperative that we move toward a sustainable future, not only to ensure that our children and grandchildren enjoy the wonders of the Great Lakes State – as we have – but to continue leading in a rapidly changing economic landscape,” Roos stressed.

Roos noted that one way to do that is through development of a circular economy – one where business models focus on making sustainable choices emphasizing the need to reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle, and recover energy from unwanted materials and putting them to their highest -- and best -- use instead of landfilling them for simplicity. 

Building a circular economy that puts unwanted materials to reuse in manufacturing new products -- while minimizing waste -- is what NextCycle Michigan is all about.  It identifies, recruits, vets, and accelerates projects that focus on waste prevention, material reuse, recycling/composting collection and processing, and getting those materials to end markets that utilize them in making new products.

“EGLE is proud to lead the NextCycle initiative, which is leveraging public and private investment in Michigan’s recycling system to put materials that were headed to the landfill back into the supply chain,” said Roos.

He highlighted initiatives like NexTiles, a Detroit-based startup that uses textile waste from Detroit’s automotive and apparel manufacturing industries to manufacture eco-friendly textile products, and Wormies, a Grand Rapids-based composting business that turns food and yard waste into fertilizer for farm and garden use. “These NextCycle partnership are vital to Michigan’s success as we work together to improve our economy, environment, and communities,” he noted.

Looking forward, Roos laid out EGLE’s overall vision for the future of environmental protection and the work of the department. EGLE’s Vision 2027 Plan is focused on making sure Michigan is an enduring national leader in environmental protection. That includes:

  • Ensuring that all Michiganders have safe air.
  • Providing clean drinking water and protect our Great Lakes, lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands.
  • Reducing waste generation and increase state recycling efforts.
  • Cleaning up contaminated sites and address legacy pollution.
  • Implementing the MI Healthy Climate Plan.
  • And serving as a catalyst for advancing Environmental Justice throughout the state.