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State offers more than $3 million in grants for recycling infrastructure

Mike Krebs, Traverse City Record Eagle

Recently passed legislation would expand recycling opportunities in Michigan. Part of the effort includes promoting grants to fund recycling infrastructure. The state is now making more than $3.3 million available to support waste reduction projects.

Less than 20 percent of waste produced in Michigan is recycled. That’s lower than the national average - the state wants to increase that number to 45 percent by 2030.

The grants are earmarked to fund programs like community receptacles and recovery facilities that will increase recycling opportunities and food waste collection.

Emily Freeman is a recycling specialist with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. She said the grants have helped double the amount of curbside pickup across the state in just the last four years.

“This grant is part of a bigger program that we’ve got going to support recycling infrastructure, improve the quality of materials, and grow markets," Freeman said. "And it’s been really impactful.”

Freeman said past projects funded by the grant include Bay City receiving 15,000 recycling carts and the development of a recovery facility in Alpena.

The grants are available to local governments, nonprofits, and universities. Deadline to apply is May 19.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.