recycling

Credit Coreene Smith

  Michigan recycling programs have been struggling since China stopped taking U.S. plastic materials last year.

 

But Emmet County recycles their products in-house, so they haven't been affected as much.

Jim Malewitz, the environmental reporter for Bridge Magazine, has been following their program. He says Emmet County pays to haul materials to its own recycling center, then collects revenue from recycled products. 

There's a scene in the 1967 film The Graduate where a well-meaning friend of the family pulls Dustin Hoffman's character aside at his graduation party, and gives him this advice:

"There's a great future in plastics - think about it, will you think about it? ... That's a deal."

But back then, the downside of plastic wasn't apparent.

 


On Friday, President Trump's first tariffs hit $34 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Beijing quickly responded with its own tariffs on equal amounts of American-made goods. Many believe that this back-and-forth between China and U.S. is the start of a trade war.

Imported steel and aluminum are one of the main targets of Trump’s latest tariffs. 

Dan Cooper is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan. He sat down with Stateside's Cynthia Canty to discuss why these tariffs would have minimal effect on the U.S. if the country did a better job recycling its scrap metal. 

Sam Corden

Researchers who work in wetlands in Michigan are taking a new approach to invasive plants. Instead of removing plants like phragmites and switchgrass, they’re harvesting them. They say these plants are a threat to biodiversity, but they can benefit farmers and even power homes.

Recycling programs in Michigan have run into some problems.

Some, like the University of Michigan's program, cut back on what they take. And businesses are paying some of the highest prices they've seen in recent years to have their leftover material recycled.

Do you have any idea how much money we are throwing away with that all that garbage that's going into our landfills?

Tomorrow, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public meeting in Lansing to figure out how to rethink the way we deal with garbage and trash.

At the meeting, members of the public will get a chance to weigh in on the first major revision of our trash disposal and recycling laws since the 1990s.

Donations of bottled water have been flooding into Flint.

Making sure people have safe drinking water is the top priority in Flint right now. But some people are wondering about one side effect of the water crisis: where all those empty bottles are ending up.

Pity the lowly wood pallet. Nobody thinks about it. But it does so much work.

Most merchandise in supermarkets and big box stores is shipped on wood pallets. There are roughly two billion wood pallets circulating in the U.S.

Grand Traverse County no longer leads the state in the number of illegal dump sites.

Last month, the Michigan Department of Resources identified 55 dump sites on public land throughout the county. But thanks to the efforts of dozens of volunteers, all 55 piles of trash have been cleaned up.

The effort was led by DNR volunteer coordinator Ada Takacs. She said all sorts of things were found at the sites.

“We find anything from gum wrappers all the way up to major … trailer homes that were abandoned and then maybe stripped of metals," she said.

Gov. Rick Snyder rolled out a new statewide recycling plan today in hopes of convincing more of us to recycle.

The governor and recycling activists say we can do a lot better when it comes to recycling. 

Right now, Michigan recycles about 15% of all reusable materials. That's way below the national average of 35%. And Michigan is seventh among the eight Great Lakes states in its recycling performance.

What are we losing by throwing out all that glass, plastic, metal and paper? And what's in the governor's plan to get us to recycle these materials? 

We were joined by Kerrin O'Brien, executive director of the Michigan Recycling Coalition. 

Listen to the full interview above.