Manistee County Receives US Department of Agriculture Grant for Recycling

“We don’t want to send materials to the landfill, we want to make better use of that material.”

A new grant has one local county working to be more sustainable and create jobs.

The US Department of Agriculture awarded Manistee County a $35,000 grant.

The Alliance for Economic Success applied for the money, to allow the county to figure out what’s being thrown away and recycled…And how to best use it as a resource.

9 and 10’s Megan Atwood looked into what the grant will do.

“The project is really about bringing folks together from the local municipalities to adjacent counties to other organizations or manufacturers who can see that it’s more than just about recycling and dropping your household items into a bin,” says Sarah Archer, the Recycling Coordinator for Manistee County.

The $35,000 grant will work to compile a data base of what materials are being recycled.

Archer goes on, “In Manistee County, we really have no idea what our recycling rate is. So we really don’t have any idea what materials are being placed in a recycling bin and how much of that is getting recycled.”

Once they know what materials they have, the hope is manufacturers can use it…Creating jobs.

“We are trying to bring some of those manufacturers here to this area. We are trying to capture more materials so that we have some stuff to say we’ve got this much. There’s really economic value to this material, there’s a driving labor force that we are pushing forward in rural Michigan and so we are really excited about the possibilities,” Archer says.

Other counties are excited too.

Andy Gale is the founder of Bay Area Recycling. He is happy to see the government putting money towards recycling in Northern Michigan.

“Anytime the state is willing to give more money toward recycling is always better for the environment it’s better for the economy, it’s going to be better for more jobs locally. When you do recycling and you create a product locally you take all of the things that make a product more expensive out of the equation…Happens here all the time with artists wanting to do more artwork with recycled content,” Andy Gale says.