The City of Portage was recognized for environmental leadership by the statewide Michigan Green Communities program. As part of the 2021 Michigan Green Communities (MGC) Challenge, 44 participating local governments were awarded gold, silver, or bronze seals of achievement reflecting community leadership in areas such as energy efficiency, climate adaptation and resilience, recycling, environmental justice, and more. Ten communities received bronze certification, twelve received silver certification, and twenty-two received gold certification.
The City of Portage achieved gold status for exemplary action in multiple categories including planning, economic development, land use, climate resilience, and adaptation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, materials management (AKA recycling, composting, waste diversion), water conservation and protection, clean mobility, and community engagement.
The city’s recent environmental stewardship efforts include the installation of electric vehicle charging stations at city facilities, the use of alternative fuel technology to decrease carbon emissions and reduce the amount of fuel consumption by the city fleet, and the replacement of traditional fuel vehicles with models that use hybrid, electric and alternative fuel technologies. Portage, a Tree City USA, fosters urban forestry and stewardship of natural resources and works to transfer green waste to the city-owned compost site to be recycled as mulch or soil, which supports landfill avoidance.
The City of Portage recently entered into a contractual agreement with NORESCO to implement a $1.1 million energy efficiency project that will improve key city buildings and parks for years to come. The city will benefit from reduced energy and maintenance costs and will avoid relevant projected future capital expenditures. The project also provides decarbonization benefits and is expected to reduce the city’s annual emissions of carbon dioxide equivalents by 418 metric tons. The expected reduction in greenhouse gases equates to the carbon sequestered by 495 acres of U.S. forests in one year, providing air quality improvements to the community.
Recycling is a shared responsibility and requires citizen engagement. The key to a successful residential recycling program is the ease of participation for the citizen. In an effort to simplify the act of recycling for the general public and to increase the level of recycling in the community, the city transitioned the previous “dual-stream” curbside recycling program to a “single-stream” service in 2015. The single-stream process eliminated the need for sorting as items are placed in a single container and rolled to the curb for collection.
About Michigan Green Communities: The Michigan Green Communities (MGC) program is open to all local governments in Michigan, at no cost. MGC is a sustainability networking, benchmarking, and technical assistance program. It guides and supports communities in adapting to a changing climate, protecting infrastructure, improving the quality of life for residents, and creating a more environmentally and economically sustainable future for the state of Michigan. Michigan Green Communities is supported by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; the Michigan Economic Development Corporation; the Michigan Association of Counties; the Michigan Municipal League; and the Michigan Townships Association. More details about this program can be found at www.migreencommunities.com. Questions regarding the Michigan Green Communities program can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.