Snyder wants state to clean up

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette As part of Michigan’s Public education and technical assistance for communities, under a 2015 recycling bill, students from the Hancock Middle School learn about recycling recently, under the Western U.P. Center for Science, Math & Environmental Education.

HOUGHTON — When Houghton County received a grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for $92,000 for a recycling program, it was the was the largest grant amount awarded to a municipality in the state, according to Carol Ekstrom, co-chairwoman of the Copper Country Recycling Initiative.

The grant was a portion of a $1 million budget allotment toward increasing recycling throughout the state, as part of Governor Rick Snyder’s commitment to making Michigan a cleaner state.

In April, 2014, Snyder announced a statewide plan designed to increase residential recycling access statewide, an April 14, 2014 press release stated.

“Michigan’s recycling rate for residential household waste is about 15 percent. The national average is 35 percent. A recent study concluded more than $435 million in recyclable metal, glass, paper and plastics goes from Michigan households to Michigan landfills each year,” The release stated. Locally, the average was much lower.

At the time of Snyder’s press release, the DEQ recognized Houghton was one of 58 of Michigan’s 83 counties that did not have access to convenient recycling opportunities, according to a 2015 report released by MTU’s Environmental Sociology class under Dr. Richelle Winkler.

In his press release, Snyder stated that while Michigan has a strong tradition of protecting and enhancing its environment, when it comes to recycling, the state must increase its efforts.

“Michigan trails other Great Lakes states and much of the nation in residential recycling, Snyder stated in the release. “It’s a complex challenge but one that we can address. This plan puts us on the right path.”

Snyder also recognized the economic potential of developing a sound state-wide recycling program.

“States with healthy recycling programs have found that, in addition to reducing pressure on landfills and helping the environment, recycling creates jobs and opens markets for recovered materials,” Snyder said. “We’ve been throwing away money for decades. Addressing this issue is simply the right thing to do, and I am pleased to announce we are committed to making Michigan a recycling leader.”