FILE - Curbside recycling

The city of Detroit is receiving nearly $800,000 from a public-private funding collaboration aimed to increase recycling access.

The grant is “the largest expansion of recycling in the city’s history,” and the entire $2.2 million grant stretches across Michigan, according to a news release.

The funds build on the Know It Before You Throw It program, a recycling education initiative started last year by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

EGLE granted Detroit $458,000 on top of a $325,000 grant from The Recycling Partnership, which Detroit Office of Sustainability Director Joel Howrani Heeres said “will help spur a citywide education campaign rolling out in 2020 to increase participation in curbside and multifamily recycling programs.”

EGLE Public Information Officer Jill Greenberg told The Center Square that state legislators have increased EGLE’s funding for recycling projects from $2 million in fiscal year 2018 to $15 million in fiscal year 2019-2020.

The additional funds will support the development of recycling markets, increase access to recycling opportunities, and support planning efforts to grow recycling at the local level, Greenberg said.

The collaboration, with support from the PepsiCo Foundation, will purchase 16,400 curbside recycling carts and nearly 4,000 multifamily containers in Detroit. 

Tim Carey, vice president of sustainability for PepsiCo Beverages North America, said in a statement that the partnership will help more than 76,000 families increase recycling by a projected additional 1,315 tons annually.

“We’re using that [grant] to boost our recycling markets and improve infrastructure through outreach and education so that we can improve the level of clean and effective recycling so we can have a greater yield on the state’s recycling efforts,” Greenberg said.

Greenberg said the grant is essential to increasing the Mitten’s recycling rate to reach a long-term goal of 45 percent.

“Right now, recycling participation is 15 percent, the lowest rate in the Great Lakes region and amongst the lowest rates nationwide,” Greenberg said. "So we’re looking to double that by 2025.”

Several Detroit Democratic lawmakers celebrated the grant in a news release.

“As a community, we’re discarding more than 100,000 tons of materials each year that could be recycled instead of being tossed in the trash,” Sen. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, said in a statement. “This grant will help us divert even more waste from our landfills.”

The recycling industry generates 36,000 jobs statewide and an annual payroll of $2.6 billion, Greenberg said, citing a 2016 study commissioned by EGLE.

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.