$7 million in recycling grants set for U.P. communities


Tourist information hostess Elisa Bulzomi, right, explains to a passenger how to insert a plastic bottle into an automatic recycling bin outside a subway station in Rome, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. Rome unveiled Tuesday three test machines around metro stations where passengers can drop plastic water bottles, receiving five cents apiece, which goes to the passenger’s account in partner apps to be redeemed for public transportation tickets. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

MARQUETTE, Mich (WLNS) – The largest amount of recycling grants for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula communities this century was announced today.

The state’s largest environmental agency grants combined with local funds is providing $7 million to expand and improve recycling programs in Marquette, Chippewa, Houghton and Mackinac County.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy announced seven grants totaling more than $1.5 million with the remainder coming from local funds.

The announcement is part of the first-ever statewide education campaign to better inform Michigan residents on what can and cannot be recycled as well as how to recycle items correctly.

Almost 53% of the state’s municipal solid waste that goes to landfills could instead go to recycling facilities.

“Increasing recycling and improving the quality of materials we’re recycling saves energy, reduces water use, decreases greenhouse gases, conserves resources and translates into local jobs,” said EGLE Materials Management Division Director Jack Schinderle.

The goal is to promote awareness of cleaner recycling practices to reduce the amount of contaminated materials improperly going into recycling bins.

50% of Michigan residents mistakenly believe they’re allowed to recycle plastic bags in their curbside recycling, which is prohibited by most municipalities.

76% of residents are unaware that failing to rinse and empty items before putting them in the recycling bin poses a risk of contaminating everything in the bin.

The state also wants to double Michigan’s recycling rate to 30% by 2025 and ultimately reach 45% annually.

Michigan’s current 15% recycling rate is the lowest in the Great Lakes region and ranks among the nation’s lowest.

Achieving EGLE’s 30% recycling goal would produce as many as 12,986 jobs, which translates into an economic impact of up to $300 million annually, according to the Expanding Recycling in Michigan Report prepared for the Michigan Recycling Partnership.

Recycling in Michigan is receiving a major boost as bipartisan state legislation increased EGLE’s funding for recycling from $2 million last year to $15 million in 2019.

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