LANSING, Mich. — Breaking new ground on recycling education and strengthening the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s connections with local government leaders are ongoing highlights of the "Know It Before You Throw It" recycling education campaign featuring the Recycling Raccoon Squad.
In select media markets across the state, EGLE is teaming with municipal and county government officials to customize campaign messaging so that it’s tailored to the specific needs of local communities.
- Alpena County Board Chair Brad McRoberts announced Aug. 19 during a news conference a new community challenge to promote and improve the county’s residential and commercial recycling activities. The aim of the partnership with EGLE is to effectively double Alpena County's recycling record for the amount of plastic, paper and cardboard collected and shipped to market over a roughly one-year span at the Alpena Resource Recovery Facility (ARRF).
- Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell kicked off the city's new partnership with EGLE during a Sept. 16 media event by announcing the goal of increasing the average Kalamazoo household's curbside recycling to 400 pounds annually by 2025. Participating city households currently recycle approximately 256 pounds of materials each year.
"The aim of the partnership with EGLE is to set Alpena County's all-time recycling record," McRoberts said at EGLE's Alpena press event.
"What's impressive to me is that Alpena County has come a long way since we began our recycling program in 2011," he said. "Now it's time for our residents and businesses to join with EGLE and help propel Alpena County to a record-breaking level of performance."
Alpena County established a new record last year for the amount of recycled plastic, paper and cardboard that was diverted from landfills -- a combined 1.16 million pounds that was collected from Nov. 1, 2017, through Oct. 31, 2018. That 12-month span is the statewide standard for material recycling facilities to comply with Michigan's recycling reporting law.
The ARRF this year has already surpassed that amount in those three recyclable material categories by nearly 50,000 pounds, collecting and shipping to market 1.21 million pounds of recycled plastic, paper and cardboard from Nov. 1, 2018, through July 31, 2019.
The goal of the Alpena Community Recycling Challenge is for ARRF's processing staff to collect another 800,000 pounds by Dec. 31 to reach 2 million pounds in recycled plastic, paper and cardboard, essentially doubling Alpena County's all-time high for recycling what ARRF records show by volume are the three materials most commonly tossed in recycling bins.
Kalamazoo Mayor Hopewell stated that last year, approximately 11,000 Kalamazoo households with curbside service recycled a total of 2,139 tons of materials that otherwise would have gone into a landfill. In partnership with EGLE, he challenged city residents to recycle a record-breaking 2,500 tons of materials annually by 2025.
"As mayor of our wonderful city, I know this community truly cares about our environment and knows how important it is to protect it for generations to come," Hopewell said. "Now it's time for each of us to step up our efforts by sending less waste to landfills and recycling and reusing whenever possible.
In 2020, EGLE will continue teaming with Michigan communities to develop local-level marketing materials that promote recycling.
"Ultimately, improving the quality and quantity of recycling in Michigan will have a far-reaching impact by creating jobs and a cleaner environment," said Jack Schinderle, EGLE Materials Management Division director. "The benefits that can come from this campaign cannot be overstated."
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