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Past Projects

Great Lakes Recycle

Great Lakes Recycle


Material management is a fundamental component of a high performance economy, therefore, in 1992, the Council Governors began promoting the use of recycled materials throughout the Great Lakes region. Believing that states should lead by example, the Governors focused their efforts on harnessing the collective purchasing power of the eight state region to stimulate the recycled product markets in the Great Lakes states.

The Great Lakes Recycle Board was formed in 1996 and consisted of one Governor-appointed representative from each Great Lakes state. Michigan Governor John Engler, lead Governor for this project, designated Andrew Acho as Board Chairman. Mr. Acho was Director of Environmental Outreach and Strategy for  Ford Motor Company and the champion for demonstrating Ford’s commitment to the environment.

Since their appointment, the Board worked towards meeting the Governors’ challenges which included:

  • Working with state officials to identify and facilitate multi-state purchases of recycled goods;
  • Launching a Great Lakes Recycle seal or logo;
  • Proposing a strategy to attract recycling industries to the Great Lakes region; and,
  • Developing a public relations strategy promoting recycling in the Great Lakes region.

In addition to adhering to the Governors’ directions for Great Lakes Recycle, the Board agreed to adopt the following performance and quality criteria to guide their efforts:

  • Products made from recycled materials must be as good as or better than those made from virgin materials;
  • Products made from recycled materials must be economically viable.

In July 1997, the Governors created PAT or the Purchasing Action Team to help facilitate the process of state purchasing of recycled products. PAT consisted of Governor-appointed purchasing officials from each state in the region.


  • Joint purchase of recycled copy paper. (1992) This purchase resulted in the diversion of over thirty million pounds of waste paper from disposal and preserved the equivalent of at least 130,000 trees.
  • GLR logo designed and approved by the Governors. (July 1997) This logo was used on the project Internet site, stationery, and displays. It identified the project and the regional effort of recycling.
  • GLR Web site established. (July 1997) This Web site provided project background information, contact information, state price preference language regarding the purchase of recycled products, a list of top recycled products purchased by the states, a display of recycled products manufactured in the Great Lakes states and a template to each state’s online recycling resources. Links to over 30 national recycling and purchasing Web sites were made in July 1998.
  • Recycled content trashcan liner specification developed and approved. (April 1998) These guidelines will be used by each Great Lakes state in their next bidding cycle or when current contracts expire.
  • Article highlighting Ford Motor Company’s leadership role in the Great Lakes Recycle project published in the Toledo Journal of Great Lakes’ Law, Science & Policy. (July 1998)
  • GLR sponsored a regional reuse symposium. (November 1998) "The Executive Transportation Conference: Secondary Materials in Highway Construction" provided a forum for officials from the region’s state departments of transportation, recycling market development and environmental protection to jointly address the challenges and opportunities presented by the reuse of foundry sand, coal ash, and mixed glass in highway construction.

For more information, call 312/407-0177

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