Alternatives to Microbeads, Frankenmuth Fish Passage, Michigan’s Recycling Rate

For Friday, Nov. 6, 2015

1 – Microbeads continue to threaten the health of the Great Lakes. They’re used in products like facial scrubs, body washes and toothpaste.

Credit: Maxence
Credit: Maxence

But they’re ending up in the Great Lakes because they’re too tiny to be filtered out by wastewater treatment plants.

There’s concern that fish and other creatures are eating the beads, and that the beads are absorbing pollutants.

What’s a consumer to do? Michigan State University Extension suggests that consumers look for products that contain natural ingredients instead of plastic.

That means stop buying products that contain ‘polypropylene’ and ‘polyethylene’ and look for products that contain pumice, oatmeal, apricot pits and walnut husks.

A Michigan House bill would halt the manufacture and sale of products containing plastic microbeads by 2018.

2 – A Frankenmuth project has opened up spawning habitat to fish.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently announced the completion of the Frankenmuth fish passage project, located in Saginaw County.

The project restores fishery access to more than 73 miles of river and spawning habitat. Previously, the Cass River Dam prevented walleye, lake sturgeon and other native species from accessing the areas.

A rock ramp was constructed downstream from the dam to allow fish to pass. The rock ramp will allow fish to access spawning habitat that had been unreachable for more than 150 years.

The improvements are intended to restore the walleye population in the Cass River, so it can be largely self-sustained through natural reproduction. The river has been identified as one of six in the Saginaw Bay watershed that are key to increasing the natural reproduction of walleye.

3 – Michigan leaders want to double the state’s recycling rate.

They’re planning a challenge called Recycle by Design that will launch early next year.

Michigan’s overall recycling rate is 15 percent, lower than every other Great Lakes state, and below the national average of 34 percent, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Recycle by Design is due to kick off on Feb. 15.

The challenge aims to foster public and private partnerships that result in successful strategies to increase recycling in Michigan.

For more information, see


– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter

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