DETROIT, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – Detroit is receiving nearly $1 million in grants to support the largest expansion of recycling in the city’s history as part of a first-ever, $2.2 million public-private collaboration to increase recycling education statewide in 2020.

Liesl Clark, director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, announced the grants Jan. 6.

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The effort, which is funded by EGLE and the national nonprofit The Recycling Partnership with special support from the PepsiCo Foundation, will help build on the success of Michigan’s national award-winning Know It Before You Throw It recycling education campaign that EGLE launched last year.

“We are committed to informing and inspiring more people than ever before in Detroit and across Michigan about how to recycle better,” Clark said during a morning news conference at the Detroit Department of Public Works, where she was joined by Detroit Office of Sustainability Director Joel Howrani Heeres, city and nonprofit leaders, as well as Detroit-area state legislators.

“Increasing recycling and improving the quality of materials we’re recycling is not only the right thing to do for our environment, but it also saves energy, reduces water use, decreases greenhouse gases, conserves resources and translates into local jobs,” Clark said.

The aim of the first-of-its-kind Know It Before You Throw It statewide push is to better inform Michiganders on what can – and cannot – be recycled and how to recycle correctly.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state legislators want to double Michigan’s recycling rate to 30% by 2025 and ultimately reach 45% annually. Michigan’s current 15% recycling rate is the lowest in the Great Lakes region and ranks among the nation’s lowest. Equally important, EGLE and its campaign partners across the state are promoting awareness of cleaner recycling practices to reduce the amount of contaminated materials improperly going into recycling bins.

The nearly $800,000 in grants to Detroit includes more than $458,000 from EGLE and $325,000 from The Recycling Partnership that will help fund new services offered this year by the city’s Department of Public Works in its multifamily, commercial and public space recycling programs.

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“The Recycling Partnership’s grant of $325,000 is its first-ever to Detroit and will help spur a citywide education campaign rolling out in 2020 to increase participation in curbside and multifamily recycling programs,” Howrani Heeres said. “It’s time for each of us to step up our efforts and increase the quantity and quality of recycling in every Detroit home and business.”

Recycling across Michigan is receiving a major boost as state legislators have increased EGLE’s funding for recycling projects from $2 million in FY2018 to $15 million in FY 2019-2020. The additional funds are being used to support development of recycling markets, increase access to recycling opportunities, and support planning efforts to grow recycling at the local level.

“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,” said state Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit). “This grant will help us divert even more waste from our landfills.”

“These recycling grants are a tremendous step forward in helping Detroit implement thoughtful recycling programs while also delivering infrastructure support to help promote and expand recycling in our city,” said state Sen. Betty Jean Alexander (D-Detroit).

“The broad support that exists for recycling in Detroit – from neighborhood and community groups, industry, environmental advocates, waste management, and all types of materials groups – also reveals a strong consensus exists among all stakeholders that education and outreach is essential to help improve our recycling systems,” said state Rep. Cynthia A. Johnson (D-Detroit).

More information about the Know It Before You Throw It campaign is available at RecyclingRaccoons.org.

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