In 1999-2000 the Michigan Recycling Coalition undertook an intensive effort to measure recycling in the state and its impact on Michigan's economy. With funding from Region 5 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the MRC was able to quantify recycling activity throughout the state for the first time, and to date, the last time. Explore our findings below.
Recycling is nearly $2 billion industry in Michigan, with a 20 percent recycling rate.
The results of the Michigan Recycling Measurement Study illustrate the need for a proactive approach to fostering recycling programs, businesses and markets in the State. With a total population in Michigan of 9,938,444 in 1999, and a total of 772 curbside and dropoff programs serving an estimated 3,670,072 and 5,471,053 residents respectively, Michiganders are clearly underserved.
Municipalities, townships and villages provide for the majority of programs. These local units operate and/or manage a total of 493 programs. County agencies operate and/or manage a total of 150 programs, while governmental authorities, private businesses, and non-profits are responsible for 46, 40 and 21 respectively. A total of 225 curbside and 92 dropoff programs accept residential yard waste; this provides services to 2,915, 210 (30% of the population) and 4,302,810 (43% of the population) Michiganders respectively. Michigan has a total of 163 compost sites and 49 material recovery facilities.
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A need for more investment in recycling is supported by MRC's estimation that in 1999, the State achieved a MSW recycling rate of 20%. This results in a per capita recycling rate of 1.4 pounds of MSW recycled by each Michigan resident, each day. Or a total of 2,509,567 tons of MSW handled for recycling, with breakouts by the following broad categories of materials:
* Glass: 167,447 Tons
* Metals: 869,837 Tons
* Organics: 739,904 Tons
* Paper: 712,526 Tons
* Plastics: 40,624Tons
* Other: 19,908 Tons
With a 20% recycling rate, Michigan is behind the average of 26% for Great Lake States, as reported by BioCycle in their 12th annual nationwide survey, examining disposal, incineration, recycling, composting, and wood recovery activities.
Even with a 20% recycling rate, the recycling industry is estimated at nearly $2 billion per year in Michigan. Economic impacts show that recycling is a strong industry with powerful growth potential. MRC estimates that recycling processing activities alone, not including collection or endues/manufacturing, generated total revenues of $1,952 million in 1999. Additionally, recycling processing resulted in 5,687 jobs, and approximately $243 million in wages in 1999.
For more information, call MRC at 517-974-3672
Michigan Recycling Measurement Project: Collection and Diversion of Municipal Solid Waste (pdf)
Michigan Recycling Measurement Project: The Economic Impact of Recycling (pdf)