It's a fun irony to see that shirking your bottle return duty is
helping the environment. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
recently announced another $200,000 round of grants from its Community Pollution Prevention Fund, which gets its allocation from ten-cent deposits paid on bottles that are never redeemed.
Included in the award pool is the city of Ann Arbor, which received a $50,000 grant to be deployed over two years. The city will be using the funds to continue the Michigan Green Communities Network
, a partnership of Michigan cities focusing on sustainability within their boundaries. The majority of the funds will be used to hire a graduate student to facilitate the network, with the balance going towards a sustainability conference for city staffers and partner universities, says Matthew Naud, environmental coordinator for the city of Ann Arbor.
The network serves as a go-to information source for communities tackling green projects or implementing eco-conscious programs for their residents. Most cities, especially smaller ones, don't have a director of sustainability, Naud says, so "they can either work in a vacuum or find a grad student or an intern who can fish around on the internet, or they can send the question out to the network and immediately have access to 70 different communities across Michigan that may or may not be able to help them."
Naud ticks off the hitches municipalities are facing: "How do you do performance contracting for energy efficiency retrofits in your city hall? What kind of a zoning ordinance have other cities used for siting wind energy? It's a huge scope that a number of staff are moving into. There's nobody who's trained in all these issues."Source: Matthew Naud, environmental coordinator for the city of Ann Arbor
; Michigan DEQWriter: Tanya Muzumdar