LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – While Michiganders’ recycling habits have broadly improved, specific materials, such as bottles, are not making it back to recycling plants according to a recent report. 

Overall, the state was praised by Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) previously for making recycling in Michigan “an all-time high.” 

MORE NEWS: Absentee Ballot Signature Verification Rules Issued by SOS Benson Ruled Unconstitutional

“We can all be proud that Michiganders are recycling now more than ever before,” said Regina Strong, EGLE Environmental Justice Public Advocate.

The department revealed some statistics regarding Michigan’s success with recycling most materials. 

  • The total amount of residential recycled materials being reported for Fiscal Year 2022 was 620,494 tons – over 66,000 tons more than the previous record set the year before.
  • Materials that Michiganders recycled last year would fill the football stadiums at Ford Field, Michigan State University’s Spartan Stadium and the Big House at the University of Michigan.
  • Michiganders recycled over 339,000 tons of paper and paper products during FY 2022, more than 154,000 tons of metals, more than 71,000 tons of glass, and over 45,000 tons of plastic and plastic products.
  • Michigan’s recycling rate has risen from 14.25% prior to 2019 to over 21%, based on an EGLE 2023 analysis.
  • Recycling, reuse, and remanufacturing industries in Michigan provide 72,500 jobs and contribute more than $17 billion a year to the state’s total economic output. 
  • EGLE’s total allocation of $15.6 million in 2023 grants across the state is more than Michigan has ever invested in recycling infrastructure and technology – more than double last year’s record $7 million of investments.

Despite, overall improvement in recycling, some recycling centers have reported an overall decrease in bottle returns. According to WILX, Michigan has dropped from number one in the country to number two when it comes to beverage container recycling.

“The decline since the post-pandemic has been really disappointing for the recycling industry,” Shayna Schupan Barry said. 

Shayna Schupan Barry works with Schupan Recycling.  Barry contended that despite Michigan’s drop in bottle recycling to roughly 75%, it is still a part of the culture. 

“It’s kind of been a culture of Michigan to return our bottles and cans,” Barry said. 

MORE NEWS: SCOTUS Rules 9-0 Docs Lack Standing to Challenge FDA’s Removal of Safety Protocols for Abortion Pill

EGLE has made strategic investments in a number of communities with the aim of boosting bottle recycling and education in the future including grants to Kent County for a new robotic sorting equipment to automate line sorting at its Recycling & Education Center.