Michiganders recycle more, still lagging rest of US

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Michiganders seem to be recycling more than before, although the state’s recycling rate still lags the rest of the country.

Just over 19% of Michigan’s solid waste is either recycled or composted, according to a recent analysis by the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

This is an improvement from the pre-2019 rate of 14.25%.

EGLE director Liesl Clark called the increase significant, adding that it equates to an additional 500,000 tonnes of material being captured each year instead of being incinerated or sent to landfills. She acknowledged, however, that the state has room for improvement.

“Michigan has historically had the lowest recycling rate of the Great Lakes states, which is why there’s a real need to increase that rate and why the focus has been on it,” Clark said.

The national recycling rate is around 32%, according to 2018 data from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

State officials say they have moved closer to that benchmark by educating the public and making recycling easier.

EGLE wants at least 30% of Michigan’s waste to be recycled by 2025 and at least 40% by 2030.

As part of achieving this goal, the department distributes a total of $97 million in grants to local governments and recycling companies for initiatives such as adding curbside carts and expanding centers. of recycling.

That includes $7 million in rewards announced Monday targeting Detroit, Pontiac, Flint, Grand Rapids, Alpena and the Upper Peninsula.

Monday’s announcement comes ahead of Earth Day later this week and the release of the state’s plan for carbon neutrality by 2050.

Clark said Monday that increasing access to recycling services has helped the state increase recycling.

Today, more than 75% of households in the state have access to curbside recycling bins or drop-off sites in their communities.

Copyright 2022 Michigan Radio. To learn more, visit Michigan Radio.

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