Partnership allows expansion of recyclables in Detroit to cut down on solid waste

Partnership allows expansion of recyclables in Detroit to cut down on solid waste

  • Acceptance of paper cups and carton expands metro Detroit recycling opportunities
  • Starting today, residents can place their clean and empty paper cups and food and beverage cartons in their recycling carts
  • Learn more about the additional recycling options coming to curbsides at www.DetroitRecycles.org

The City of Detroit is among over 2.75 million Michigan households that can now recycle their food and beverage cartons and paper cups thanks to a partnership with the Carton Council of North America and the Foodservice Packaging Institute.  Through this collaborative effort with local recycling facilities that process recyclables to most communities in the region, these paper products are now welcome in recycling containers in the metro Detroit area and more than 70 cities in the region including Detroit.

The recycled paper cups and food and beverage cartons will go on to make new paper products consumers use every day, such as paper towels, toilet paper, napkins and office and writing paper. These products will primarily be made in the Great Lakes region.  

Two major recycling facilities in the region — Resource Recovery Recycling Authority of Oakland County and Green For Life Environmental Recycling and Resource Recovery — will sort paper cups and food and beverage cartons from Detroit and area communities.  These facilities join other recycling facilities in the state that already accept these materials, including Southeast Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority (SOCRRA), Emterra (East Lansing, Lansing) and Kent County.

“Working with the other recycling stakeholders in the region ensures we are all singing from the same sheet of music to ensure we accept valuable materials and educate our residents, ” said Mike Csapo, general manager of Recycling Authority of Southwest Oakland County (RRRASOC). “Paper cups and cartons are items our residents use a lot, and they have a desire to recycle. We are excited to provide the opportunity now for them to be recycled.”

“It’s really exciting that the City of Detroit is now able to join other communities in the region to  recycle paper cups and food and beverage cartons,” said Nishaat Killeen, City of Detroit Recycling Coordinator. “We all work together as a region to take care of our waste materials. Adding clean and empty paper cups and cartons to our acceptable recyclables is a win for everyone.”

Once recyclables are received at the recycling facilities, they are sorted and then sent to paper mills, most of which are located in the Great Lakes region, where they are made into new recycled-content products, such as paper towels. To help this process, GFL Environmental Recycling has installed technology at its New Boston facility to sort paper cups and food and beverage cartons. The addition of this technology was made possible due to a grant from the Foodservice Packaging Institute and Carton Council as part of ongoing initiatives to increase recycling of paper cups and food and beverage cartons in communities across the country.

“We are happy to have such strong partners with FPI, CCNA and EGLE to help us implement these new additions,” said Brent Hildebrand. “Technology in our facility helps to make it possible to sort recyclables and offer additional opportunities for residents to recycle materials with value that deserve to have the opportunity to go on to make new products.”  

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has committed grant investments in facilities like GFL through the NextCycle Michigan initiative. This type of investment into Michigan’s recycling systems has positive economic, environmental and supply chain benefits for the entire state.

“Michigan is a valuable location for adding paper cups to its recycling stream due to its proximity to end markets in and around the state,” said Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute. “The state is committed to growing recycling and end-markets to meet its goals.”

“Food and beverage cartons are made primarily of paper and represent some of the highest quality fiber in the recycling stream,” said Jason Pelz, vice president of recycling projects for the Carton Council and VP of Circular Economy, Americas and South Asia, East Asia & Oceania for Tetra Pak. “Given the close proximity to several paper mills in region, it’s especially beneficial to recycle as many cartons as possible so they can be used to make new everyday paper products.”

Starting today, residents can place their clean and empty paper cups and food and beverage cartons in their recycling carts. Detroit and other area communities will be participating in a joint outreach campaign in the coming weeks to notify residents about these newly accepted materials. Learn more about the additional recycling options coming to curbsides at http://www.DetroitRecycles.org.