Projects strengthening Michigan's circular economy selected for business accelerator program

What’s happening: The next wave of Michigan innovators looking to bolster the state’s circular economy will soon be better equipped to do just that, as NextCycle Michigan has announced the 17 teams selected to participate in its latest cohort of business acceleration programming. Eight organizations advancing innovative recycling technologies, and nine organizations advancing organic material recovery solutions, were selected for the six-month program, including several in the state’s more rural areas.

What it is: Organizations enrolled in the NextCycle Michigan Accelerator embark on a six-month program that begins with a two-day workshop followed by individualized business and technical support and coaching, strategic training opportunities, and more. There are four tracks; Recycling Innovation Technology (RIT) and Food, Liquids, and Organics Waste Systems (FLOWS), which are the two associated with this most recent cohort; and Intergovernmental Initiatives and Public-Private Partnerships (I2P3) and Recycling Supply Chain (RSC), the applications for which are currently being accepted through Sunday, March 31.

More information about the application process is available online.

Why it is: NextCycle Michigan Accelerator, a program from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), intends to help innovative projects in the circular economy develop and achieve investment-attractive and implementation-ready status. Circular economies stress the importance and benefits of reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling materials and products to eliminate waste and pollution.

Rural concerns: While many of the selected teams are located in Michigan’s population centers, there are several found in the state’s smaller, more rural areas. Included in the RIT cohort is Liquid Ion Solutions of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which plans to expand the use of ionic compatibilizers to recycle rigid polypropylene (PP) by identifying recycled PP feedstock and end markets in Michigan.

Included in the FLOWS cohort is the Emmet County Department of Public Works and Recycling of Petoskey, which plans to create a comprehensive and scalable business plan for its organics recycling operation; Hemp 4 Humanity of Three Rivers intends to develop a comprehensive business plan and find partners to build the infrastructure for processing industrial hemp production waste, agricultural waste, and building deconstruction waste, which will then become viable building materials for housing developments for disabled low-income residents; New Horizon Property Management of Marshall wants to develop a facility to process yard waste, brush, tree trimmings, and plant waste from local licensed marijuana growing facilities; and St. James Township on Beaver Island plans to develop organics and food waste collection and processing operations on the island.

Why it’s important: “The selected teams and the NextCycle Michigan accelerator program represent the ingenuity and innovation needed to fill the gaps in Michigan’s strengthening circular economy,” says Liz Browne, director of EGLE’s Materials Management Division. “We are excited to see more homegrown and out-of-state organizations that view Michigan as a promising marketplace for developing new products from recovered materials.”

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