This report—the third in a series on recycling issues in Michigan communities—presents Michigan’s local government leaders’ assessments of support for recycling programs among various groups within their jurisdictions. In addition, it looks at local leaders’ own views about whether recycling produces valuable outcomes and whether promoting environmental sustainability is an important aspect of local governance. The findings are based on statewide surveys of local government leaders in the Fall 2021 wave of the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS), as part of the Michigan Local Recycling Policy Project, funded by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).
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- Fully 94% of Michigan local officials support local access to recycling in their communities, including 66% who express strong support in communities with recycling services currently, and 46% who strongly support adding recycling services in places that currently lack such access.
- Furthermore, in communities that currently have access to recycling, local leaders report widespread support among residents (86%), among local businesses including commercial, industrial, or agricultural operations (63%), and among their board or council members (88%).
- Even in communities that do not currently have access to recycling services, a majority of local leaders report support for recycling among residents (60%) and their board or council (53%), while just over a third say there is support among their local businesses (note: some of the smallest rural jurisdictions may not have any significant business presence to speak of).
- Local officials statewide express positive attitudes about the benefits of recycling. Statewide, most believe recycling programs can help protect clean water in Michigan (87%), decrease local litter and pollution (77%), address global climate change (56%), and nearly half agree that recycling could boost local economic development and job growth in their communities (47%).
- Few believe that recycling is not worth the effort (14%), while 68% believe it is. Meanwhile, although one third (32%) agree that “most materials collected in recycling programs end up in landfills anyway,” 37% disagree with that statement.
- Beyond recycling, most Michigan local leaders believe promoting environmental sustainability and “being green” are important aspects of local government leadership (64%). The percentage of local officials that strongly agree with this statement increased from 23% in 2019 to 28% in 2021.
- As of 2021, agreement with this statement—that promoting environmental sustainability and “being green” are important aspects of local government leadership—was found among local leaders from all partisan stripes, including Democrats (90%), Independents (74%), and Republicans (55%).
Protecting clean water
Overall, 87% of Michigan local leaders believe recycling programs can help protect clean water, while 4% disagree
Fall 2021 MPPS
Statewide, 77% of Michigan local leaders believe recycling programs can help decrease litter and pollution, compared to 9% who disagree
Fall 2021 MPPS
Addressing climate change
Across Michigan, 56% of local leaders believe recycling programs can help address global climate change, while 14% disagree
Fall 2021 MPPS