Learn how this company uses recycled plastic to make high-quality products

Learn how this company uses recycled plastic to make high-quality products

This story was originally published by FOX17 for "Morning Mix".

Plastic. It's in cars, refrigerators, furniture, computers and so many other objects we encounter in our everyday lives.

Recycling plastic is not only important, it has become a competitive market. Getting the best quality recyclable material helps local companies, like Davidson Plyforms, compete.

Todd took a trip to Davidson Plyforms to see what happens to the plastic put in the recycling bin and to learn more about Michigan's efforts to increase the amount the community recycles.

Learn more about Davidson Plyforms and how they're taking advantage of recycled materials on their website.

Also, learn more about the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy campaign and get more tips and information on recycling, visit recyclingraccoons.org.

Not all paper is recyclable – learn how to recognize the trash

Not all paper is recyclable – learn how to recognize the trash

This story was originally published by WDIV Channel 4 for Live in the D.

The holidays are approaching us fast! If you plan to wrap gifts or open gifts there will be lots of paper involved. But not all paper is recyclable. The Michigan Department of Environmental, Great Lakes & Energy or EGLE is aimed at encouraging people to recycle the right way and have some guidelines to share about recycling paper.

Host, Jason Carr had a chat with Hugh McDiarmid with EGLE and Natalie Jakub with Green Living Science about what type of paper is recyclable. Types of paper like receipts and wrapping paper cannot be recycled. Things to look out for are glossy or wax coating paper that must be thrown in the trash.

Watch this video to learn what types of paper can be recycled.

For more information about recycling, visit recyclingraccoons.org. To learn more about Green Living Science programs or volunteer opportunities visit greenlivingscience.org.

Not all paper can be recycled; here’s what goes in the bin

Not all paper can be recycled; here’s what goes in the bin

This story was originally published by FOX17 for "Morning Mix".

Paper is one of those things everyone knows can be recycled, however what's lesser known is that not all paper belongs in the recycling bin.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy wants to encourage the community to recycle properly, and they're doing just that with their new Know it Before You Throw It campaign.

The following can be recycled as long as they are clean and don't have any food residue or grease stains on them:

  • Paper with staples/clips
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Envelopes with plastic windows
  • Wrapping paper without glitter or foil

These types of paper cannot be recycled:

  •  Used paper towels, tissues or napkins
  • Cash register receipts

When the improper materials are put in the curbside bin, it contaminates the proper materials already inside. If the materials are contaminated, the entire bin is thrown out and cannot be recycled.

Learn more about EGLE's new campaign, get more tips and information on recycling by visiting recyclingraccoons.org.

Also, learn more about what the City of Grand Rapids is doing to improve recycling efforts at grandrapidsmi.gov.

Paper recycling 101

Paper recycling 101

This story was originally published by WOOD-TV for "eightWest".

When you think about it, we have a lot of paper surrounding us on a daily basis, the books we read, letters we receive in the mail and at work and school, we use a lot of paper! That’s why it’s so important that we recycle, it not only reduces landfills but recycling paper saves energy and trees. We wanted to learn more about recycling paper, how to do it properly and how it can be turned into useful products. So, we partnered up with Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, take a look!We’ve partnered up with the Department of Energy, Great Lakes and Environment to talk about recycling many materials cardboard, plastic, metal and more. Even as a person who’s recycling for years, there’s so much to learn about how and what we should be recycling.

Click here to learn more about the PaperGator program.

Cardboard recycling 101

Cardboard Recycling 101

This story was originally published by WOOD-TV for woodtv.com/eightwest.

Think about it, these days, we have a lot of things delivered to us through the mail. While it’s convenient, it also uses a lot of cardboard! Cardboard boxes and packaging can be big and bulky, so we definitely want to find a good place for it. What we should be doing is recycling it. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy wants to encourage and educate everyone on how to do that best, so take a look!

When it comes to cardboard, one thing you want to do, is remove the tape, foam, and other packing materials before you recycle it, because these items get stuck in the recycling machines and can cause a lot havoc. With the holiday season coming up, this is really important!

Learn the rules of recycling cardboard

Learn the rules of recycling cardboard

This story was originally published by WDIV for clickondetroit.com/live-in-the-d.

After the last piece of pizza has been eaten, and the clothes from your online shopping spree have been hung with care, what do you do with all of those cardboard boxes? Our partners at The Michigan Department or Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, or EGLE, are spreading the word on how we can recycle correctly.

We've seen the cute recycling raccoons tell us how to take proper care of our plastics and glass, but they also have rules for cardboard. For instance, all cardboard boxes should be broken down and flattened when stored in the recycling container. Doing this makes transporting them easier, and helps the entire recycling process flow smoothly.

When it comes to pizza boxes, if the container is saturated with grease and debris, it is not recyclable. However, if the box is pretty clean, remove and throw away the pizza plate that comes on the bottom of the box, then break down the rest, and send it to the recycling center.

One center that is working with EGLE to teach people how to recycle, and to do it properly, is Recycle Here! Detroit. This center not only takes most items that you didn't or wouldn't think are recyclable, but they take the time to explain how to clean, break down and store it.

To learn more about Recycle Here! Detroit's recycling center, visit recyclehere.net.

What’s the secret to recycling cardboard? Ask Michigan’s Recycling Raccoons

What’s the secret to recycling cardboard? Ask Michigan’s Recycling Raccoons

Carlos Cardboard - Recycling Racoon holds piece of cardboard
Learn the secrets of recycling cardboard with Carlos Cardboard.
This story was originally published on the Detroit Free Press website.

If you want to improve your recycling habits, it’s best to listen to the experts.

That’s why we asked Carlos Cardboard to sit down with us and clarify some of the most confounding cardboard questions. Carlos is part of the six-member Michigan Recycling Raccoon Squad, whose mission is to teach Michiganders what can — and cannot — be recycled.

These furry recycling champions are part of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s (EGLE) Know It Before You Throw It education campaign, which kicked off this summer in every corner of the state.

EGLE’s goal is to double the state’s recycling rate to 30% by 2025 and ultimately reach 45%. Right now, Michigan’s 15% recycling rate is the lowest in the Great Lakes states region and ranks among the lowest in the nation.

Carlos is a cardboard connoisseur and obsessed with flattening. A snappy dresser, he has a bow tie for every day of the week. Most of all, he loves sharing best practices for recycling cardboard.

Carlos-Cardboard
Carlos Cardboard explains which types of cardboard can be recycled.

What kinds of cardboard are OK to recycle?

Great question! I reaaaallly love recycling cardboard, don’t you? It’s so … well … boxy! My favorites are tissue boxes, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, cardboard packaging and food boxes that you’d keep in the pantry – those are all good to go in the recycling bin. So, go for it!

Can I recycle my freezer food boxes?

Boxed containers made for refrigerator and freezer foods have added chemicals to keep the boxes from getting soggy and wet. That makes them difficult to recycle – but not impossible. I’d suggest checking with your local recycling provider to see if it accepts them.

Should I stack my boxes inside one another as a do-it-yourself recycling bin?

No. Boxes are bulky and take up extra room in the trucks that pick them up; flattening them saves space and makes the sorting process easier. Like I always say, “Flattery will get you nowhere, but flattening will!”

Are empty juice cartons recyclable?

Many communities accept cartons in their curbside recycling program, but not all. That’s because juice and milk cartons are actually made of two or three layers of paper, plastic and aluminum, which makes them trickier to recycle.

Should I peel off labels and tape from boxes before I recycle them?

Best recycling practice is to take the tape off. So, while you don’t have to remove them, your recycler would love it if you did.

Why doesn’t my recycler accept pizza boxes?

Grease and stuck-on food on pizza boxes ruins the cardboard for recycling. It can also ruin the other items in your recycling bin by getting them dirty and greasy. Want my secret? If the pizza box top is clean, I rip it off and recycle that portion. Then I eat all that gooey cheese left in the box and throw that part in the trash.

Should I remove staples from cardboard?

Nope! Staples are OK to leave in. Just make sure that cardboard is flat – just how I like it!

Overall, it’s important to keep in mind that every community has different rules about recycling. So be sure to check with your local provider to find out what’s accepted in your area.

Recycling Glass 101

Recycling Glass 101

This story was originally published by WOOD-TV for woodtv.com/eightwest.

You may know that recycling has many benefits including energy savings, reduction in water use, decreases in greenhouse gases and conserving resources to name a few. But did you know that just 15% of Michiganders recycle, the lowest in the Great Lakes region and among the lowest in the nation. And not all those who recycle are doing it properly. But there is a new effort to change all that. the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy has kicked off a campaign to better inform Michiganders what can – and cannot – be recycled, as well as to increase the amount of material recycled statewide. This campaign, titled the “Know It Before You Throw It” campaign aims to promote best practices and emphasize that recycling provides a wide range of environmental and economic benefits and this week we’re focusing on glass.

Like many to-be recycled products, it is critical to rinse and empty all glass containers. This means rinsing out containers, so they are completely empty of food or beverages prior to tossing them in the recycling bin. Clear glass food jars are usually accepted curbside. However, lids should be removed to be recycled in their respective streams (plastic or metal). Non-food glass is rarely recycled curbside, so items like glassware or lightbulbs have to be recycled elsewhere. Every municipality in Michigan has slightly different rules, however. It’s important to routinely check with local officials about what’s permissible in individual communities. Specifically, for glass, it’s important to check to see if they accept brown, green and blue glass curbside.

Recycling glass? You may be doing it all wrong and here’s why

Recycling glass? You may be doing it all wrong and here's why

This story was originally published by WDIV for clickondetroit.com/live-in-the-d.

Live in the D's  Kila Peeples ventured to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to learn more about how to recycle glass correctly.

The "Know it Before you Throw It" campaign is helping people recycle glass the right way.

Here are the rules for recycling glass containers.

1) Rinse your container before throwing it in the recycle bin

2) Separate tops and lids from the jars

Kila also visited the Schupan recycling plant to see how the recycled glass is processed.

Here is the process after you recycle your glass:

Schupan's process for glass is very thorough. The glass comes from the retailer to the processing plant. Then it's separated by green, brown and clear. Next it proceeds up to the glass crushers. After that the glass is sent to glass recyclers in Dearborn.

Over 140 million pounds of glass is recycled per year at Schupan Recycling in Wixom. Because of Michigan's deposit law, Michiganders have a 90% recycling rate, one of the best in the country.

Remember, recycling clean materials leads to successful recycling!

To learn more about the Schupan recycling company visit, schupan.com.

West Michigan craft breweries, Raccoon Squad clear on benefits of glass recycling

West Michigan craft breweries, Raccoon Squad clear on benefits of glass recycling

 

An empty beer bottle is a sad sight for some folks.

This story was originally published on MLive Media Group.

But for West Michigan craft beer producers Founders Brewing Co. and Bell’s Brewery, it’s an opportunity to help Mother Nature.

“We focus on trying to use our resources in a way that allows us and future generations to continue to use those resources for a long time,” said Kate Martini, sustainability specialist at Bell’s, the Kalamazoo-based brewery that makes over 20 beers, including the popular Oberon and Two Hearted ales.

Bell’s not only recycles its waste amber glass, but it also recovers cardboard, paper, stretch wrap, green plastic banding, keg caps, wood, electronics, batteries, scrap metal and aluminum used in its production process. In 2018, the brewery recycled 1.5 million pounds of waste that otherwise would have ended up in a landfill.

Founders – the Grand Rapids beer maker that runs neck and neck with Bell’s for the title of largest brewer based in Michigan – is dedicated to increasing its recycling rate and reducing waste sent to landfills.

“Glass is a fundamental part of what we do. That’s why our glass is an average of 40% recycled content:  We’re always striving to be a responsible member of the glass community,” said Elizabeth Wonder, sustainability coordinator for Founders, whose signature beers include All Day IPA and Kentucky Breakfast Stout.

Improving Michigan’s recycling rate

Michigan in 1976 was the first state in the nation to enact a bottle and can deposit law, which tacks an extra dime onto the cost of each carbonated beverage sold in the state, to be redeemed later for a 10-cent refund on containers.

Thanks to the deposit law, returnables account for much of all recycled glass in the state. But returnable containers represent only 15% of all materials Michiganders recycle every year, according to the Container Recycling Institute.

If recycling habits improve, more than half of the state’s municipal solid waste now dumped in landfills could instead be recycled.

Unlike many other materials, glass bottles are endlessly recyclable. That means returning glass containers like that empty queso jar for recycling helps make new glass bottles and jars.

But state leaders say Michigan needs to do a better job recycling its glass – as well as its paper, metal, cardboard, and plastic. The state’s current 15% recycling rate is the lowest in the Great Lakes region and among the lowest nationwide.

That’s why this summer the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, known as EGLE, launched Know It Before You Throw It, a first-of-its-kind statewide education campaign to better inform Michiganders on how to recycle correctly and what can — and cannot — be recycled.

Along with teaching Michiganders “cleaner” recycling practices, EGLE also wants to double the state’s recycling rate to 30% by 2025 and ultimately reach 45% annually.

Cleaner is better

Glass recycling faces several hurdles.

After the glass in your curbside recycling leaves your front yard, it’s taken to a recycling facility where it’s checked for cleanliness and sorted by material type and color. From there, the glass is crushed into pieces ranging in size from gravel and pebbles to sand and powder. Those crushed materials are sold to manufacturers that further melt them down to create new products like beer bottles.

But too often recycling bins are treated as extra garbage cans, with the contents failing to meet processing companies’ cleanliness standards. Contamination – like that little bit of queso you can’t reach at the bottom of the jar – not only ends up ruining the quality of glass being recycled, but it also puts everything else in your curbside bin at risk of being unusable. (If that queso drips on nearby cardboard, for example, the cardboard is no longer fit for recycling.)

EGLE-commissioned research shows that teaching residents how to properly recycle is key. The Know It Before You Throw It campaign features the six-member Recycling Raccoon Squad, recycling champions who serve as EGLE’s education ambassadors.

“By learning a few simple rules, we can elevate our rate of recycling, increase the amount we recycle and help build stronger, more prosperous communities. That’s a win-win-win for everyone,” said EGLE Materials Management Division Assistant Director Elizabeth Browne.

Recycling Raccoons

Clear rules for glass recycling

Gladys Glass, EGLE’s raccoon expert on recycling glass, has a few easy rules to guide Michiganders on her webpage:

  • Rinse and empty all glass before recycling.
  • Clear glass food jars are usually accepted curbside.
  • Check with your local recycler to see if it accepts brown, green and blue glass curbside.
  • Clear, nonfood glass is only rarely accepted curbside, so check with your local recycler.
  • Lids should be removed to be recycled in their respective streams (plastic or metal).
  • The glass used for cooking purposes — such as Pyrex — is not accepted curbside.
  • Lightbulbs are not accepted in curbside recycling programs, but some types of lightbulbs can be recycled at participating retail stores.

Every municipality in Michigan has slightly different rules, though. Certain types of glass accepted in one city aren’t necessarily accepted in another. It’s important to routinely check with local recycling providers about what’s allowed in individual communities.

Bottle-to-bottle recycling

Glass recycling also helps preserve limited natural resources. Making a new bottle from recycled glass, for example, reduces raw material use, is cost-efficient, uses less energy, lessens the carbon footprint and creates jobs.

Achieving EGLE’s 30% recycling goal would produce as many as 12,986 jobs, which translates into $300 million annually for Michigan’s economy, according to the Expanding Recycling in Michigan Report prepared for the Michigan Recycling Partnership.

The Recycling Raccoon campaign is a clear step in the right direction for businesses, residents, municipalities and environmental advocates across Michigan.

“Glass is a core recyclable and residents want to recycle it,” said Jim Nordmeyer of the Glass Recycling Coalition Leadership Committee.

Bell’s is so committed to sustainability that in 2017 it joined the coalition, which works with member organizations in the beverage and recycling industries to encourage glass recycling.

For its part, Founders in 2018 achieved a 90% landfill diversion rate and is shooting for 92% in 2019.

“Founders understands that we must do our best to be good stewards of the environment by reducing and optimizing our use of natural resources,” Wonder said.

© Copyright 2019, EGLE. All Rights Reserved.

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