Pitch competition advances Michigan’s circular economy

Teams from Detroit, Michigan and beyond also earn more than $2 million in EGLE grants

The winners of a unique Michigan-centric competition that focuses on recycling, reuse and renewable resource projects in Michigan have shared $51,600 in prize money to help realize their visions. The winners are listed below. Among the competitors were recipients of more than $2 million in 2022 grants from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). These awardees are also listed below.

NextCycle Michigan – an EGLE initiative to connect entrepreneurs, businesses, organizations and communities with technical support, funding and capacity building to advance Michigan’s circular economy – hosted the Showcase competition at the Michigan Recycling Coalition (MRC) Innovation Season: Fall into Recycling event from October 6th to 7th in Tróia. EGLE Director Liesl Clark presented the awards.

NextCycle prepared teams from companies and other organizations to present their project ideas in the competition, judged by entrepreneurs, investors and industry leaders from Closed Loop Partners, Michigan Economic Development Corp., Michigan Capital Network, United Way, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice , Emmet County, EGLE and PADNOS. The prizes and winners are:

Best of Resource Recycling Systems Exhibition Award: $10,000 for BSG Tire RecyclingDetroit, and Porous PavingGrant, to turn scrap tires into paths and public areas in Detroit. The companies also shared a $400 Shovel Ready People’s Choice award.

Centrepolis Accelerator Prize: $10,000 for Reload RecyclingFentonto collect, process and recycle lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles and other sources in the Flint area.

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Community-Based Solutions Presentation Award: $7,500 to Collaboration by Benton Harbor to develop recycling infrastructure and circular economy opportunities in Benton Harbor. The collaboration includes the City of Benton Harbor and the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.

Beyond Recycling Award: $7,500 for Detroit architectural salvage warehouse deconstruct buildings to keep environmental resources out of the waste stream and make affordable repurposed housing materials available to low- and middle-income families.

Shovel Ready Pitch Prize: $7,500 for American classicgreenvilleto expand its portable residual asphalt shingle grinding operation to service all of Michigan.

Innovation Wheel Award: US$7,500 for VMX International, Detroitto develop a recycling center in Detroit focused on lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

Beyond Recycling People’s Choice Award: $400 to Pink Elephant Eventsdetroitto expand its zero-waste event services in Southeast Michigan to recover valuable materials for marketing and landfill diversion.

People’s Choice Community-Based Solutions Award: $400 a Pontiac Regional Council to bring local communities together for collaborative recycling opportunities.

People’s Choice Innovation Wheel Award: $400 a NecoTechDelaware, Ohioto create asphalt from mixed plastics for use on roads, bridges and highways in Michigan.

2022 EGLE Grants

Separate from the competition, participants in the Troy Showcase and a previous contest this spring in Ann Arbor won a total of $2.28 million in 2022 EGLE grants:

West Michigan Goodwill IndustriesMuskegon, received $500,000 for a joint venture with Pennsylvania-based HydroBlox Technologies to convert at least £2 million a year of Goodwill plastic waste into a recycled content stormwater management system.

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GlacierSan Francisco, received $367,000 to demonstrate robotic classifiers at the Southwest Oakland County Recycling and Resource Recovery Authority (RRRASOC) and Southeast Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority (SOCRRA) – case studies for the effectiveness of Glacier robots in other locations. The robots will mitigate labor shortages at both materials recovery (MRF) facilities, recovering up to an additional 950 tonnes of commodities per year.

Noble PolymersGrand Rapidsreceived $295,641 for the work of diverting mixed residential plastics from landfills and developing and composing recycled plastics for a wide range of manufacturing industries.

Center for Sewing and Industrial Innovation (ISAIC)detroitreceived $166,000 to develop a production model to recycle textile waste into felted fabric and a business plan to expand that model through microfactories across the state.

SEEDS Ecology and Education CentersCity Crossingreceived $163,340 to participate in NextCycle’s Food, Liquid and Organic Waste Systems to accelerate the diversion of organics from landfills in the Grand Traverse region and northwest Michigan.

BSG Tire Recycling received $133,000 to sustainably reuse waste tires in Detroit to manufacture low-maintenance, long-lasting products and pathways, including for the 27.5-mile Joe Louis Greenway Recreation.

NextTilesdetroitawarded $113,711 for a project using textile waste from Detroit automotive manufacturing as a raw material for building insulation.

Reload Recycling received $100,000 to provide a platform in Michigan to test, diagnose, discharge, refurbish and recycle electric vehicle batteries.

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SavormetricsMississauga, Ontarioreceived $100,000 for artificial intelligence-based sensing to reduce food waste at source and reduce energy consumption.

Partnership of Suppliers for the EnvironmentWashington DCreceived $100,000 for a study to develop, evaluate and recommend models to economically and practically collect, aggregate and pre-process renewable packaging materials for the automotive supply chain.

VMX International received $100,000 for a lithium-ion battery processing facility from which recovered rare earth elements can be used as a raw material for next-generation products.

urban ashSalinereceived $65,500 for a pilot program to capture around 400 metric tons of carbon dioxide by diverting urban trees from the wood waste stream, while providing business and career opportunities for people who have had contact with the justice system .

Western Michigan University Paper Pilot PlantsKalamazooreceived $55,660 to establish a laboratory to test paper and plastic materials for compostability and diversion from landfills.

American classic received $19,825 to study the feasibility of creating a regional hub-and-spoke MRF to serve Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Lake and Newaygo counties, which currently do not have MRFs.

Beneficiaries not based in Michigan have operations in the state. NextCycle Michigan fosters partnerships and develops investment-ready project plans to keep waste out of landfills and increase Michigan manufacturers’ demand for reclaimed materials, bringing in new businesses with a focus on equitable and environmentally positive solutions. Resource Recycling Systems manages and facilitates NextCycle in collaboration with Lawrence Technological University’s Centerpolis Accelerator and the MRC.

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