September 17, 2019
The Michigan Materials Marketplace is an initiative led by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), as part of our Re:source collaboration. Re:source is a cooperative recycling market development initiative working toward the best use of recycled materials in economic and business opportunities in Michigan. Working together, the MEDC and EGLE will grow Michigan's role as a leader in developing markets for recycled commodities.
To encourage future participation in any tools that would be created, the Re:source team of the MEDC and EGLE launched a customer survey. The survey considered the unique challenges manufacturers face when trying to recycle.
The results of the survey resulted in the creation of the online Materials Marketplace platform. As a result, EGLE is working together with partners to develop recycling markets by connecting Michigan businesses to new recycling and reuse opportunities. These opportunities can drive both waste savings and revenue. This innovative system is in use nationwide and utilizes a simple Web-interface to help companies find, qualify, and execute good reuse and recycling deals.
This approach to enhancing recycling and reuse is quite different from previous approaches.
Success stories generated by the Michigan Materials Marketplace are diverse. Recently, a well-known food processor was able to connect with an electronics distribution company to rescue shrink-wrap rolls with film remaining from their waste stream, so the other company could use the remainder to secure pallets of boxed equipment. The food processor saves money on disposal and increases progress toward zero-waste-to-landfill, while the other company saves $10,000 per year on shrink-wrap purchases.
A Michigan auto parts manufacturer recently connected the dots toward reuse of some off-spec parts streams destined for disposal. This company is not new to recycling; in fact, they are working on the last few percentages toward a zero-waste-to-landfill goal. Even so, the connections they made to a non-profit and a high-tech recycler that would do the necessary material separations were new, and the help they received from the platform made it possible to put it all together. The fact that it stayed local and provides important community engagement was a big plus to both the manufacturer and the recycler.
Sometimes totally new opportunities are created because of these connections. A state of Michigan archery standout started a sustainable materials-based business to create and supply archery products and accessories. Connections made as part of the Michigan Materials Marketplace launch led them to a source of archery target material from a well-known Michigan-based automotive manufacturer. This resulted in a completely new, locally-manufactured product in a completely new product segment that combines local talent, local interests, and great environmental stewardship.
The Michigan Materials Marketplace is free to join, and there is no cost up front to list and search for materials. To join, simply go to its website and click "get involved."
In addition to establishing the Michigan Materials Marketplace, EGLE and the MEDC are providing recycling business development support, market development grants, and facilitating the Recycled Materials Market Directory.