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Grand Rapids recycling program hoping to get support from minority run businesses

picture of truck picking up recycle container

Grand Rapids officials are trying to breathe new life into an underperforming recycling program by reaching out to minority run businesses for help. Hopes were high for the "mygrcitypoints program” when it began in 2011, and the premise seemed promising--residents of Grand Rapids would earn “points” when the recycled, and could then use those points to receive discounts at local participating businesses. The process would not only promote city sustainability, but also stimulate local economic development. 

However, the program is struggling six years later.

In an official report released by Local First, one of the program’s original partners, “participation,  and even awareness of the program has declined” over the years.  

Currently there are around 14,000 residents participating in the program, with 53 businesses participating in 2017.  While the city would like to see those numbers higher, Local First says that not enough people are aware of the program’s existence, and businesses are frustrated by the lack of promotion. The reports states that “it’s clear that something needs to be done to jump start, reboot, or breathe some fresh air into the program.”

City officials are hoping that something may be to engage minority run businesses in Grand Rapids to get involved.

Tuesday morning, city commissioners approved a resolution that will add five new business partner organizations under contract for the program. They include the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Grand Rapids Black Chamber of Commerce, the West Michigan Asian American Association, and Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses.

The contract runs through March 31st of 2018.

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