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Michigan sets record-high recycling rate for third consecutive year

LANSING — The recycling rate in the Great Lakes State is at a record high for the third consecutive year, according to a new analysis of data that the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced Monday.

The EGLE research shows Michigan has steadily increased its recycling rate from what was historically the lowest in the Great Lakes region. Michigan’s recycling ratehas risen from 14.25% before 2019 to 21% last year and over 23% now. EGLE officials forecast that at its current pace of improvement, Michigan is on track to achieve the state’s goal of a 30% recycling rate by 2029.

EGLE officials attribute the recycling rate surge to the fact that more Michiganders than ever have access to recycling services.

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”Recycling helps us keep Michigan beautiful,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. ”When Michiganders recycle cans and bottles, they get money back in their pockets and support Michigan businesses with the materials they need. We are becoming leaders on recycling and we must continue getting better.”

Michiganders recycled more than 330,000 tons of paper and paper products during fiscal year 2023, over 237,000 tons of metals, more than 67,000 tons of glass, and over 58,000 tons of plastics and plastic products. The total amount of residential recycled materials reported for FY 2023 was 703,369 tons — exceeding the record set the year before by more than 82,000 tons.

To further expand recycling access in Michigan, EGLE also announced a combined total of more than $5 million in infrastructure grants that will help support recycling projects on tap in metro Detroit, Genesee County, Lansing, Southwest Oakland County, Isabella County, Van Buren County, Marquette County, Sterling Heights in Oakland County and Madison Heights in Macomb County.

- Marquette County is receiving a $900,000 EGLE grant to expand its processing capacity at its Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). Currently, the Upper Peninsula MRF processes about 8,500 tons annually, but Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority officials say additional tipping floor space to accommodate projected increases in future tons delivered. The project will include construction of additional tipping floor space for inbound recyclables from counties across the UP.

- Isabella County is receiving an EGLE grant of $900,000 to expand and upgrade its existing MRF that is currently designed to process 7 tons per hour. The facility needs to be rebuilt because of the changing density and composition of recyclable materials and to enable single-stream collection and processing for the region. The processing capability needs to be increased and a new single-stream sort system will need to be built. This is the first step in upgrading the entire facility to a single-stream processing capability and quadrupling its total capacity.

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