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FLOWS Innovation Challenge Track opens for organics material recovery ideas


May 4, 2021

EGLE initiative offers business planning support, resources, potential funding for organics recovery projects in Michigan

The NextCycle Michigan Food, Liquids, Organic Waste Systems (FLOWS) Innovation Challenge Track opened the application period for organics recovery ideas on April 30, 2021. Selected teams for the FLOWS Track will participate in an incubator style experience to advance their ideas to increase/improve food recovery and collection, increase finished compost end markets, create innovative uses for wood waste and other ideas to improve organics recovery in Michigan.

NextCycle Michigan, an initiative from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), leverages public and private sector assistance along with investment across six Innovation Challenge Tracks to accelerate Michigan's recycling and waste recovery system. Boosting recycling and developing innovative solutions to waste management can reduce greenhouse gases and help Michigan on its path to carbon neutrality by 2050.

Teams accepted into the FLOWS Track will receive:

  • Individualized project plan development and support
  • Access to business, industry and investment experts
  • Direct consulting support
  • Matchmaking with partners and funders
  • Workshops and networking events
  • Private and public funding opportunities

The FLOWS Track is open to businesses, entrepreneurs, universities, public agencies, tribal communities or non-profits who have investable project ideas with the potential to transform Michigan's organics recycling economy. Out-of-state teams are eligible, however, the project must address materials in Michigan and ultimately be located in Michigan.

"Currently, over 367,000 tons of organics, mainly yard waste, is recovered in the state each year. However, we need to capture an additional 1.1 million tons per year, of mostly food scraps and wood waste, to reach the state's goal of a 45% recovery rate," said Matt Flechter, recycling market development specialist for EGLE. "The FLOWS Track will help organizations accelerate to the next step in addressing the organics recovery deficit in Michigan and create a positive impact on community, environment and economy."

NextCycle Michigan values and prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion. Minority and women-owned businesses are encouraged to apply.

An application packet containing information on the FLOWS Track, eligibility criteria, application process and cycle deadlines is available on the NextCycle Michigan website at

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