Recycle by Design Competition to Serve as a Catalyst for Action in Michigan

IMG Rebel is building a framework that will serve as both a catalyst for action, and as a guide for state, local, and private businesses in significantly raising the state-wide recycling rate in Michigan.This framework is Recycle by Design.

Putting ambition to task
In April 2014, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced his Recycling Initiative to double the recycling rate from 15% to over 30% within the next two years. The most important question that Michigan must answer is: “which approach provides for the most resilient and robust recycling infrastructure?” IMG Rebel is convinced that a bottom-up approach that creates buy-in from local communities and businesses will be more efficient and effective than attempting a more traditional top down approach, where the public sector (local, regional, and state) subscribes in detail what the private sector must deliver. We believe that staging a competition that connects the most talented researchers, engineers, business entrepreneurs, designers, policymakers, and—perhaps most importantly—local communities is the best way to generate these creative bottom-up solutions.

Facilitating changes above and beyond the normal course of action
In May 2015, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), together with the Governor’s Recycling Council and the Michigan Recycling Coalition (MRC) announced the kick-off of an innovative public private partnership with IMG Rebel for significantly increasing the state’s recycling rate. Recycle by Design is a two phase juried competition process through which teams of expert, motivated innovators—from the private, public, and non-profit sectors—offer their most promising solutions that, collectively, contribute to a sustainable increase in recycling rates. Recycle by Design is not programmed to select a single winner; instead the goal is to identify multiple regional proposals that can be implemented alongside each other.

Blurring the lines between process and product innovation
This approach will be beneficial to the entire state by improving the economic environment and creating jobs and new business opportunities. Recycle by Design intentionally blurs the lines between process and product innovation and the realities of traditional infrastructure finance, design, and development through the four stages of the Competition Phase. It will be inherent upon IMG Rebel and its partners to create an environment through which well thought-out community-based proposals are developed - that are financeable and ready to implement. The total sum of these new investments will contribute to a positive change in the state’s recycling rate; achieving the Governor’s ambition of doubling the rates over the next two years. The outcome is new infrastructure being put in place that will go well beyond increasing recycling rates over the short term. This infrastructure investment will be business driven and because of that will have the capability of improving recycling performance on a permanent basis contributing to an state-wide integrated resource management system that will perpetuate continued growth.

More detailed information on Recycle by Design in Michigan can be found at where updates will continue to be made available as the competition moves forward.