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NextCycle Michigan accelerator selects 17 organic and innovative recovery projects for next cohort
February 01, 2024
EGLE initiative offers business support, potential funding opportunities for projects in Michigan. Applications open for two tracks.
The NextCycle Michigan business accelerator has announced 17 teams selected to participate in its next cohort focused on advancing solutions for organic material recovery and innovative technologies for recycling.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) program offers four accelerator tracks throughout the year, two of which selected teams to receive support over the next six months, and two of which opened their applications process today.
The Recycling Innovation Technology (RIT) track is focused on projects that advance new material recovery technologies, waste minimization techniques, or other advancements in sustainable materials management that source high-quality, local materials before they end up in landfills. NextCycle Michigan chose eight teams (listed below) for the new cohort.
The Food, Liquids, and Organics Waste Systems (FLOWS) track is designed for projects that transform any aspect of organics recovery in Michigan, from food donation to food scrap recovery to new market development for finished compost. NextCycle Michigan chose nine teams (listed below) for the new cohort.
The other two tracks – Intergovernmental Initiatives and Public-Private Partnerships (I2P3) and Recycling Supply Chain (RSC) – are now accepting online applications through March 31. An informational virtual meeting Wednesday, Feb. 21, will offer opportunities to ask questions about the program structure, application process, eligibility, and more. Register at NextCycle Michigan Application Party.
The newly selected RIT-track teams and their projects are:
- Design Declassified, LLC, of Grand Rapids plans to expand collection of plastic waste from residential and commercial sources to manufacture plastic sheets used for building materials such as wall panels, partitions, and tiles.
- Fibarcode of Ann Arbor plans to demonstrate and validate fiber barcoding as integrated textile labels to improve end-of-use sorting and recycling of garments.
- Great Lakes Recycling of Oak Park plans to expand capabilities to receive, process, and recycle electric vehicle batteries.
- Liquid Ion Solutions, LLC, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, plans to expand the use of ionic compatibilizers to recycle rigid polypropylene (PP) by identifying recycled PP feedstock and end markets in Michigan.
- Nowhere Collective of Chicago plans to develop a Michigan-focused digital marketplace where makers and consumers can engage and purchase reclaimed materials and upcycled goods.
- PittMoss of Ambridge, Pennsylvania, plans to develop a Michigan facility to use locally sourced recycled paper fibers for manufacturing soilless gardening mixes, soil amendments, and animal bedding.
- Prairie Robotics, Inc., of Buffalo, New York, plans to scale the use of on-truck cameras and artificial intelligence algorithms to identify contaminants and recoverable materials to reduce landfill burden and improve recycling.
- Chippin In of Detroit plans to increase collection of foil-lined products like chip bags and candy bar wrappers to upcycle into sleeping bags for people experiencing homelessness.
- Takeout Takeout of Lansing plans to partner with restaurants and food businesses to rent reusable takeout containers with strategically placed collection containers, at-home pick up, and swapping containers with delivery drivers.
The new FLOW-track teams and their projects are:
- Bioworks Energy of Grand Blanc plans to connect with generators of food waste streams and marketing partners to develop anaerobic digestion facilities for food waste processing and renewable energy production.
- The City of Detroit and Wood Work Detroit plan to assess feasibility and develop business strategy to collect wood from urban tree removal, standing dead and dying trees, and pruning to be repurposed into furniture, wooden products, and musical instruments.
- Eastside Compost of Lansing plans to scale operations around food scrap collection locations; volume and quality of compost produced; and engagement with communities, businesses, and consumers.
- The Emmet County Department of Public Works and Recycling of Petoskey plan to create a comprehensive and scalable business plan for organics operation, focusing on screening and grinding activities, shared equipment contracts, expansion of marketing materials, and development of an operational calendar.
- Hemp 4 Humanity of Three Rivers plans to develop a comprehensive business plan and align with partners to set up infrastructure that will process industrial hemp production waste, agricultural waste, and building deconstruction waste into viable building materials for developments dedicated to disabled low-income residents.
- New Horizon Property Management of Marshall plans to develop a facility to process yard waste, brush, tree trimmings, and plant waste from local licensed marijuana growing facilities.
- St. James Township on Beaver Island plans to develop organics and food waste collection and processing operations on the island.
- Sanctuary Farms of Detroit plans to expand food waste processing and compost cultivation operations with additional site development.
NextCycle Michigan received a total of 36 applications for the RIT and FLOWS accelerator tracks. Review included vetting for eligibility by RRS, creator and facilitator of NextCycle Michigan, followed by scoring from the Challenge Track Innovation Panel of industry and business leaders, then approval from EGLE representatives. Proposals were evaluated based on their value proposition, equity potential, economic impact, environmental impact, project team, and financial viability.
Selected teams will participate in NextCycle Michigan’s six-month program that provides individualized business and technical support to move projects toward investment-attractive and implementation-ready status. Programming starts with a two-day workshop-based event, followed by several months of strategic training opportunities and access to expert coaches. There is no fee to apply or participate, and no equity share is required. Selected participants simply commit their time and effort.
The program culminates in a showcase event where participants pitch their projects to a live audience and judging panel with the chance to attract investors, win monetary awards, and generate publicity.
“The selected teams and the NextCycle Michigan accelerator program represent the ingenuity and innovation needed to fill the gaps in Michigan’s strengthening circular economy,” said Liz Browne, director of EGLE’s Materials Management Division. “We are excited to see more homegrown and out-of-state organizations that view Michigan as a promising marketplace for developing new products from recovered materials.”
Learn more about NextCycle Michigan programs, selected accelerator teams, gap analysis, and upcoming application periods at NextCycleMichigan.com.