SANDS TOWNSHIP — The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy announced seven grants that total more than $1.5 million to expand and improve the recycling infrastructure in Marquette, Chippewa, Houghton, and Mackinac counties.

The grant announcements are a part of the Marquette launch of EGLE’s first ever statewide campaign, called “Know It Before You Throw It.” The goal of the campaign is to promote awareness of cleaner recycling practices to reduce the amount of contaminated materials improperly going into recycling bins.

“The goals of this campaign are two-fold,” said EGLE Materials Management Division Director Jack Schinderle. “First, to increase the quality of recycled materials being collected in Michigan. So we want to promoted an awareness of cleaner recycling practices to reduce the amount of dirty recycling materials getting into the recycling bins.”

“We understand, that by asking people to focus on the basics and think about what they’re recycling before they toss it, we can improve our environment and build stronger communities,” said Bradley Austin, the Director of Operations at the MCWSMA.

The second part of EGLE’s goal with the campaign is to double the recycling rate in Michigan, which currently sits at 15%, which is the lowest in the Great Lakes region, and one of the lowest in the nation.

The largest of the seven grants in the Upper Peninsula is $800,000 that will help support the Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority in the construction of a new state of the art recycling facility. The investment in the recycling infrastructure in the Upper Peninsula is considered to be a big step in the right direction to continue to protect our environment.

“This is really just a great opportunity to see recycling move forward and to see the Upper Peninsula’s cohesive community that we see in our culture lead the way in what can be done with recycling around the state,” said State Senator Ed McBroom. “We’ve seen so many opportunities pass us by in the U.P., and we all know we have a great community and work ethic up here, so it’s great to see the State of Michigan recognize that.”

The campaign is underway and even has their own mascots, recycling raccoons, and you can learn more about them at

The six other grant recipients are:

  • Kinross Township — $374,400
  • Sands Township — $221,328
  • Comprenew and Goodwill of Upper Michigan — $65,152
  • Mackinac Island — $46,760
  • Michigan Technological University — $24894
  • City of Hancock — $8,363