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Surplus & Recycling Town Halls

Join us for a Surplus & Recycling Town Hall

The MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center started hosting virtual Town Halls in June 2020. Hosted on Zoom and streamed live on Facebook, these events give us an opportunity to answer your questions and present on topics of interest. Town Halls are open to the public. Have a suggestion for an upcoming Town Hall? Contact the Education Coordinator at 


Upcoming Town Halls: Click to Register


June 24, 2021 @ 7 p.m.: Why Michigan's Solid Waste Policy Matterswith industry expert, Kerrin O'Brien, executive director of the Michigan Recycling Coalition

Join us for a discussion of why Michigan's solid waste policy matters to recycling, reuse and composting efforts statewide. Learn about the state laws governing solid waste, and find out about proposed changes that are currently being considered in state government. We'll talk about what's at stake, and how we can continue to move Michigan away from a landfill-centric model of waste management, toward a broader sustainable materials management framework. 

Industry expert Kerrin O'Brien, executive director of the Michigan Recycling Coalition, will discuss key pieces of Michigan's Solid Waste Law. She'll highlight how a package of bills, currently being considered by the Regulatory Reform Committee of the Michigan Senate, would update the state’s waste management framework, moving us beyond the landfill-centric approach, toward a sustainable materials management approach.

SSRC's manager, Kris Jolley, will facilitate further conversation with Kerrin, and the audience will be invited to ask questions. This event will be hosted as a meeting (rather than a webinar). Stay 'til the end for a special treat from the Surplus Store. 

Register to receive the link to attend via Zoom. >

The Michigan Recycling Coalition (MRC) is a Lansing-based coalition that represents recycling and composting interests statewide. The Coalition, of which MSU SSRC is a member, was started almost 40 years ago by a group of passionate individuals who shared a vision to advance resource conservation issues. Learn about MRC's current advocacy work around Michigan's Solid Waste Law (Part 115 of Michigan's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act).


Past Town Halls: Click to View Recording

May 2021: Producer Responsibility - What's their part?

When it comes to recycling and reducing waste, we often hear consumers being told to "do your part," which then begs the question, what is the 'part' of the producer? What responsibility do producers or manufacturers have to the products and packaging they create and sell? To answer this question, we look toward the concept of product stewardship and a key policy tool – extended producer responsibility (EPR). EPR holds producers responsible for what they bring to market and incentivizes them to design out waste. Guest speaker, Lea Dyga, Spartan class of '21 and former SSRC staff member, explains what EPR is, how it is used to incentivize producers to consider the end-of-life of their products and packaging before sending an item to production, and how we can use EPR to shift the physical and/or economic burden of disposal off of consumers. Real world examples are referenced to illustrate the viability and benefits of EPR policies. For more, check out Lea's research on circular economic practices in the Great Lakes region.

April 2021: Waste Not! Learn How to Conduct a Home Waste Audit

Want to cut back on your waste and track your success? You can! Join MSU Surplus Store & Recycling and the Office of Sustainability for a demonstration and explanation of how to conduct a household waste audit. We'll show you how to get a baseline measurement of your waste, challenge yourself to improve your zero waste habits, and then re-evaluate your waste footprint.

March 2021: State of Recycling, with EGLE

Tune in for a conversation with Matt Flechter, recycling market development specialist with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). In a casual live interview, SSRC's manager, Kris Jolley, will talk with Matt about the state of recycling in Michigan. Topics will include EGLE’s goal to triple the recycling rate and the economic impact that would have on the state. An open Q & A session will follow. Stay 'til the end for a special treat from SSRC. 

February 2021: Recycling MSU's Paper, with WestRock

Join us for a conversation on the ins and outs of paper recycling and manufacturing. We will be joined by Jeff Weaver from WestRock, the Michigan company that processes MSU's paper and fiber materials. Jeff will walk us through the recycling process from start to finish, including how the paper is collected, prepared into post-consumer stock, marketed, and used in new product manufacturing. 

January 2021: Zero Waste Habits

For most of us, adopting a zero-waste lifestyle is a journey of small changes. Let’s talk about habits that help us walk the walk! You will hear from SSRC staff on what we like to do and you will be invited to share what works for you. This event will be hosted as a Zoom meeting, so during the conversation portion you will have the option to speak and/or turn on your camera.

December 2020: Upcycled Holiday Cheer!

Upcycled Holiday Cheer, featuring DIY demos by MSU Broad Art Lab Studio Educator, Britta Urness. Find out how you can incorporate upcycling to make your zero waste holiday dreams come true! We'll also share about the Spartan Upcycle Store -- how it came to be and where we see it going.

November 2020: Closing the Food Cycle Loop with Spartan Worms!

MSU's Worm Whisperer, Worm Wizard, and Worm Warrior discuss SSRC's new vermicompost operation, which turns campus kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich compost (sold in the Surplus Store) through the amazing digestive power of worms! Campus worm composting started a decade ago under Dr. John Biernbaum, of the Horticulture Dept., and SSRC is thrilled to carry on this critical waste diversion strategy.

October 2020: Brokering our Commodities with Special Guest, Jill Brown of Metro Recycling

In this special Town Hall, guest Jill Brown, of Metro Recycling, joins us to discuss brokering our commodities and the impacts  of international regulations and COVID-19 on the recycling industry

September 2020: Surplus Store Update

This reuse-oriented Town Hall focuses on the history of the MSU Surplus Store & current operations, including an overview of online listings, curbside pickup, vehicle sales, auctions and more.

August 2020: Recycling Beverage Containers

A talk on the ins and outs of recycling your beverage containers -- plastic and glass bottles, metal cans, and cartons. Where do they go? What happens during processing? What do they become? Plus, you'll find out how we keep it local.

July 2020: Preventing Contamination

In this conversation with MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center staff, you'll learn what contamination is, why it's bad for recycling streams, and how to recycle right.

June 2020: Drop-Off Center Updates

With the Drop-Off Center reopening around the corner, we'll talk with you about what safety precautions we're taking and highlight a couple important changes to what items we will be accepting.