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recycling bins

Detroit receives nearly $1 million grant to expand recycling

The grant is part of a first-ever $2.2 million public-private collaboration to increase recycling education with a goal of doubling Michigan’s recycling rate to 30% by 2025.

While many large cities and municipalities across the United States have reduced or even curtailed recycling programs because of high costs and low returns, the city of Detroit is receiving nearly $1 million in grants to support the largest expansion of recycling in its history. Announced by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) Director Liesl Clark, the grant is part of a first-ever $2.2 million public-private collaboration to increase recycling education statewide in 2020.

The effort, which is funded by EGLE and the national nonprofit The Recycling Partnership with special support from the PepsiCo Foundation, will help build on the success of Michigan’s national award-winning Know It Before You Throw It recycling education campaign that EGLE launched last year. That program’s goal is to better inform Michiganders on what can—and cannot—be recycled and how to recycle correctly.

Officials hope that the new educational program will help boost recycling rates in Michigan to 30% by 2025 and ultimately 45% annually.

“We are committed to informing and inspiring more people than ever before in Detroit and across Michigan about how to recycle better,” Clark said during a morning news conference at the Detroit Department of Public Works. She was joined by Detroit Office of Sustainability Director Joel Howrani Heeres and city and nonprofit leaders as well as Detroit-area state legislators.

“Increasing recycling and improving the quality of materials we’re recycling is not only the right thing to do for our environment, but it also saves energy, reduces water use, decreases greenhouse gases, conserves resources and translates into local jobs,” Clark said.

Michigan’s current recycling rate is about 15%, but officials hope that the new program will help boost recycling in the state to 30% by 2025 and ultimately 45% annually. The economic impact of tripling the recycling rate to 45% would support 138,000 new jobs in Michigan’s recycling industry, provide $9 billion in annual labor income and $33.8 billion in economic output, according to a study commissioned by EGLE.

The nearly $800,000 in grants to Detroit includes more than $458,000 from EGLE and $325,000 from The Recycling Partnership, which will help fund new services offered this year by the city’s Department of Public Works in its multifamily commercial and public space recycling programs.

The collaboration between Detroit, EGLE and The Recycling Partnership, with support from the PepsiCo Foundation, will increase residential access to recycling and collection capacity in Detroit through the purchase of 16,400 curbside carts and nearly 4,000 multifamily containers. It will also provide additional collection capacity through commercial, public space and municipal recycling containers of various sizes and a collection vehicle.

In addition to the Detroit grant, EGLE and The Recycling Partnership announced new 2020 grant opportunities across Michigan totaling $1.5 million to communities seeking to improve material quality in residential curbside and drop-off recycling programs.

Know It Before You Throw It was recently named Recycling Campaign of the Year by Waste Dive, a leading industry news publisher based in Washington, DC.

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