Improving Recycling in Muskegon County

A Positive Vision for Muskegon County Recycling Virtual Town Hall Webinar

Dive into the future of recycling in Muskegon County with us! This virtual town hall webinar highlights key findings from our recent study and outline strategies for a greener Muskegon County. Learn from the Michigan Recycling Coalition about the new state requirements coming soon, for counties to provide increased recycling access and services. Hear about our own local recycling success stories from community leaders, from Emmet County Recycling, one of the state’s most successful recycling programs, and about exciting economic opportunities from the Michigan Department of Environment, Energy, and Great Lakes. Together, let’s shape a sustainable tomorrow!

Group of people recycling

Project Background

Prompted by residents’ demand for better recycling, West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) formed a coalition in 2021 of local elected officials, community leaders, and businesses, supported by the Community Foundation for Muskegon County and Howmet Aerospace. This coalition, informally termed the Muskegon Area Recycling Network, met in both virtual and in-person meetings to consider and address the county’s recycling needs.

Encouraged by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), WMEAC sought a grant for a feasibility study, begun in 2022, to collect and analyze local recycling infrastructure, information on state programs and funding, and successful recycling programs in Michigan counties. The study is timely in light of Michigan’s recent Pt. 115 recycling law updates that require Michigan counties to achieve specific standards of access and service in the next few years, aiding the state’s goal of increasing Michigan’s recycling rate from 19% to 30% by 2029, with a further target of 45%.

Our Recommendations

The coalition recommended 7 actions, as a foundation and vision for improved recycling services and programs in Muskegon County going forward.

  1. Formation of a Leadership Team for driving recycling and waste reduction efforts.
  2. Enhanced inter-municipal collaboration to tackle recycling challenges.
  3. Public awareness campaigns to bolster recycling engagement.
  4. Exploration of comprehensive recycling coverage countywide.
  5. Licensing for haulers to aid in data collection.
  6. Pursuit of grants and partnerships for sustainable funding.
  7. Support for new economic opportunities for recyclable materials.
Woman recycling