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NextCycle Michigan announces 16 teams for Innovation Challenge programs

Kimberly Velasquez Gutierrez, RRS communications specialist, kvelasquezgutierrez@recycle.com, 346-314-3301

EGLE initiative advances state’s circular economy

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is pleased to announce the selection of 16 teams from around the state to participate in two upcoming NextCycle Michigan Innovation Challenge program tracks: Foods, Liquids, and Organic Waste Systems (FLOWS), focused on organics recovery; and Recycling Innovation and Technology (RIT), focused on novel recycling technologies.

NextCycle is an EGLE initiative that provides tools, resources, expert consulting, and investment pathways to support growing businesses and organizations focused on material recovery, reuse, recycling, and manufacturing using recycled content to advance Michigan’s circular economy. Projects can create Michigan jobs, have positive environmental and climate impacts, and provide equitable opportunities for individuals and communities from all corners of the state. NextCycle is designed to connect entrepreneurs, companies, organizations, and communities to technical support, financial resources, and capacity building for recycling, recovery, and reuse initiatives.

NextCycle’s Innovation Challenge helps teams develop investment-ready initiatives that support a resilient economy and equitable solutions in communities. The teams selected to move forward are primed for success to implement solutions in Michigan aligning with a 2021 gap analysis.

“NextCycle Michigan continues to identify innovative initiatives that will advance Michigan’s circular economy and provide teams with the tools needed to succeed,” said Matt Flechter, EGLE recycling market development specialist. “As we invest in teams, we are also creating more economic opportunity for Michiganders while positioning Michigan as a leader in climate action.”

The 16 teams were chosen from among 36 applicants based on potential to address the waste material stream gap analysis, advance equity, and leverage collaboration and partnerships. During the next eight months, NextCycle will provide mentorship, subject matter expertise, partner networking, business plan and pitch development, funding preparation, and more. In spring 2023, teams will showcase their accomplishments and deliver a pitch to state stakeholders, NextCycle Partners, and investors.

FLOWS track

The FLOWS track challenges teams to transform any aspect of organics recovery. Half of the cohort is in the startup phase, and 50% identify as owned by women or minorities. Selected teams are:

  • City of Ferndale, developing an in-vessel composting system to process organic waste generated through its new residential and commercial food waste collection program.
  • Metro Food Rescue, Oakland County, a food rescue nonprofit seeking to expand operations in Detroit.
  • My Green Michigan, Dimondale, an organic company seeking to expand by increasing customers and material intake.
  • Organicycle, Grand Rapids, an organics curbside collection program looking to increase customer growth to positively impact organics recovery markets in its home community.
  • Partridge Creek Farm, Ishpeming, an organic waste hauling service seeking to create an aerobic digester to increase production and capacity.
  • Plastus, Concord, a biotech startup that converts organic waste into 100% biodegradable bioplastics.
  • ZE Place, Hancock, a testing facility using anaerobic digestion to produce biomethane and fertilizer while recovering waste food.
  • Scrap Soils, Detroit, an organics collection and compost program that uses wood chips to create compost that can be used as a fertilizer and carbon sequestration method.

RIT track

The RIT track challenges teams to create innovations and technology. Half of the cohort is in the startup phase, with 75% of applicants coming from a qualified HUBZone federally supported small business growth area. The selected teams are:

  • Nion Metals, LLC, Houghton, ready to scale the process of supplying critical metal materials into U.S. electric vehicle market from synergizing lithium-ion battery recycling and mineral waste products.
  • Post Rock-University of Michigan Taubman College, Ann Arbor, engineering a new building facade product from upcycled post-industrial plastic waste.
  • SCOPS Coating Technologies, East Lansing, developing heat-sealable coating technology for paper to replace single-use plastic packaging.
  • American Classic Dumpster Services, Bailey, evaluating the feasibility of a materials recovery facility to process construction and demolition materials in rural Michigan.
  • Duro-Last Roofing, Saginaw, establishing infrastructure to increase recycling and diversion of PVC construction materials to increase the circularity of the product.
  • Harvest Nano, Ann Arbor, seeking to scale the recovery and conversion of biomass waste into valuable nanocellulose products.
  • Michigan Energy Options, East Lansing, creating a model to divert solar energy components by refurbishing and reusing panels, and recycling end-of-life components.
  • Goodwill Association of Michigan, Muskegon, designing textile recycling technologies and hub system to build a stronger, local circular economy.

NextCycle Michigan Innovation Challenge teams have received more than $6 million in funding to date. In addition to funding, NextCycle has a variety of pathways to advance recycling, recovery, and reuse initiatives in the state through traditional grants, data, and partner connections. Learn more about the program and teams at NextCycleMichigan.com.