Business information

Pitch competition advances Michigan’s circular economy

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

The winners of a unique Michigan-centric pitch competition focused on recycling, reuse and renewable resource projects in Michigan have shared $51,600 in prize money to help bring their visions to life. 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 winners are also listed below.

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

NextCycle prepared teams from businesses and other organizations to pitch their project ideas to 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:

Resource Recycling Systems Best in Show Award: $10,000 at BSG tire recyclingDetroit, and porous cobblestoneTo agree, to turn waste tires into public streets and spaces in Detroit. The companies also shared a $400 Shovel Ready People’s Choice prize.

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

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

Beyond Recycling Pitch Prize: $7,500 for Detroit Architectural Salvage Warehouse deconstruct buildings to keep environmental resources out of the waste stream and make affordable reused building materials available to low- and middle-income families.

Shovel Ready Pitch Price: $7,500 at American classicGreenvilleto expand its portable grinding operation for waste asphalt shingles to serve all of Michigan.

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

Beyond Recycling People’s Choice Award: $400 for Pink Elephants EventsDetroitto expand its zero-waste event services in southeast Michigan to salvage valuable materials for marketing and landfill diversion.

People’s Choice Award for Community Solutions: $400 for Pontiac Regional Chamber bring local communities together for collaborative recycling opportunities.

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

EGLE Grants 2022

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

Goodwill Industries of Western MichiganMuskegon, received $500,000 for a joint venture with the Pennsylvania-based company Hydroblox technologies convert at least 2 million pounds per year of plastic waste from Goodwill into a recycled content stormwater management system.

GlacierSan Francisco, received $367,000 for the demonstration of robotic sorters at the Resource Recovery and Recycling Authority of Southwest Oakland County (RRRASOC) and the Southeastern Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority (SOCRRA) – case studies of the effectiveness of Glacier robots at d other places. The robots will alleviate labor shortages at the two materials recovery facilities (MRFs) by recovering up to an additional 950 tonnes of product per year.

Noble PolymersGreat Rapidsreceived $295,641 for work to divert mixed curbside residential plastics from landfills and to develop and compound recycled plastics for a wide range of manufacturing industries.

Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC)Detroitreceived $166,000 to develop a production model for recycling textile waste into felted fabric and a business plan to scale this model through micro-factories throughout the state.

SEEDS Ecology and Education CentersTown of Traversereceived $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 area and northwest Michigan.

BSG tire recycling received $133,000 to sustainably reuse used tires in Detroit to make sustainable low-maintenance products and paths, including for the 27.5 mile Joe Louis Greenway recreational route.

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

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

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

Environmental Partnership Supplierswashington d.c.was awarded $100,000 for a study to develop, evaluate and recommend cost-effective and practical models for the collection, aggregation and pre-processing of 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 raw materials for next-generation products.

Urban ashesSalinereceived $65,500 for a pilot program to capture approximately 400 metric tons of carbon dioxide by diverting urban trees from the wood waste stream while providing start-up and career opportunities for people who have had contact with the judicial system.

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

American classic received $19,825 to study the feasibility of creating a hub-and-spoke regional MRF to serve Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Lake and Newaygo counties, which currently have no MRFs.

Non-Michigan-based recipients have operations in the state. NextCycle Michigan encourages partnerships and develops investment-ready project plans to keep waste out of landfills and build demand from Michigan manufacturers for reclaimed materials, bringing new business with a focus on fair and positive solutions for the environment. Resource recycling systems manages and facilitates NextCycle in collaboration with Lawrence Technological University Centrepolis Accelerator and the MRC.