Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum is launching a new recycling initiative designed to help local companies implement waste diversion programs and potentially establish zero waste to landfill goals.
The MGSSBF Zero Waste Initiative is based on a program that has helped Kent and Ottawa county organizations collaborate on shared challenges for recycling and waste diversion. Facilitated by Sustainable Research Group, which also facilitates the Grand Rapids program, the Zero Waste Initiative supports the efforts of Southwest Michigan businesses to keep waste from being sent to landfills. It will promote the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recovery hierarchy, helping to establish a circular economy in the region through education, evaluation, research and joint activities.
The initiative is led by a group of six founding sponsors: Brilliant General Maintenance, Jones Lang La Salle, Lakeland Hospital, Stryker Corporation, Western Michigan University, and Whirlpool. It will meet once per quarter, with educational opportunities and other support provided virtually in between meetings.
Formed in 2013, the Grand Rapids-based Zero Waste to Landfill User group assists local manufacturers in finding alternative disposal methods for troublesome waste products by working across multiple industries, combining small- and medium-sized manufacturers with the likes of Haworth and Herman Miller. Members of the original group already have had considerable success with developing internal recycling programs for materials such as paper, corrugated cardboard and food waste, and were looking to address the last 10 percent of or most difficult materials to recycle in their waste streams. MGSSBF founder and Green Connection Inc. President Becky Kliss organized the Southwest Michigan group.
The Southwest Michigan group will focus on program implementation and infrastructure development, aligning with other waste reduction activities in the region, and benefit from the experience of the more established participants in the sister group.
Any organization with waste reduction needs may participate for an annual fee of $250 for up to two representatives per company. Organizations that are not members of MGSSBF will be asked to join the organization after one year or pay an increased annual fee.