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Kalamazoo Brewers Target Plastic Recycling

Bell's Brewing

Bell’s Brewing and the Kalamazoo Nature Center are leading a recycling co-op to keep 26,000 pounds of plastic out of Michigan landfills each year.

The Kalamazoo Craft Brewers Recycling Co-op got a $12,000 grant from the state for the project. Bell’s Sustainability Specialist Kate Martini says two baling machines help recycle so-called "green" bags.

"Part of the reason they're hard to recycle is the shape of the bag itself. It's kind of big and floppy and flimsy, and so you really can’t just put it in a curbside recycling bin with like your shampoo jugs and milk cartons and stuff like that."

And Martini says the organization behind the recycling has to be prepared.

"And the only way to do it is to accumulate them into large quantities. So, that’s where the community aspect of it came in and we saw an opportunity to be that hub for green bag recycling in the area, in order to make it a viable program."

The money also helped pay for another machine that helps recycle cardboard. Martini says the program is based on one developed by Great Divide Brewing Company in Colorado.

"By organizing a drop off system and having other breweries participate, it will give you all access to that recycling outlet and let you accumulate enough that if viable, for a recycler to take."

Six Kalamazoo-area craft breweries are involved in the program. And Martini says it's looking for more partners.