State Kicks Off $2 Million Smart Recycling Campaign

Michigan needs to recycle more efficiently and more often just to catch up to neighboring states. Now Lansing is starting to educate people on how to help.

Monday, the state kicked off their “Know It Before You Throw It” campaign, educating Michiganders on how to recycle and what works and what doesn’t.

“It really is an effort to help people understand how to recycle better,” says Kerrin O’Brien, executive director of the Michigan Recycling Coalition.

Michigan is great at recycling cans and other returnables but the state’s recycling of all other materials is pure rubbish. This a new education campaign from the state kicked off this week

“They’ll be seeing it everywhere TV spots, hopefully there’ll be social media, we’ll have billboards,” says Jack Schinderle of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

Two million dollars a year is set aside for the campaign, to explain the statewide basics and where to find your local rules and limits.

“The details are going to come from local recyclers,” says Schinderle, “What they allow and what their rules are.”

Knowing what can and can’t be recycled is pretty much common sense. A lot of time plastics are good to go as long as they are clean. Something that has food left in it needs to be rinsed out before throwing it in. Plastic bags are one thing people think they can just throw it in but they should be  taken back to the store or just thrown away. It’s small things like that they can help Michigan catch up to these other states in the recycling rates.

“We still estimate we’re at about 15% recycling of our municipal solid waste stream,” says O’Brien, “The average around the country is about 34%.”

On top of that, nearly 25% of everything recycled in Michigan is contaminated or done wrong.

“So you think about a quarter of the materials that are received could be contamination?,” asks O’Brien, “They’re paying for a whole lot of waste.”

A little sorting before it goes in the bin, can save a ton of work, cost and waste on the backend.

“Throw one item away instead of a whole load,” says Schinderle.