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2024: NMU SLFG Projects

Student-Led, Faculty-Guided Project - Spring, 2024

Authors: Jelili Adebiyi, PhD


Consumer Plastic Consumption, Reuse and Recycling in Upper Peninsula Michigan:

The increasing global plastic production, projected to reach 1,124 million tons by 2050, poses significant sustainability challenges. The environmental consequences include massive economic losses, with 80-120 billion dollars lost annually globally due to short single-use plastic cycles. Despite efforts to address the issue, a substantial amount of plastic, both globally and in the United States, ends up in landfills, contributing to pollution and ecosystem losses. Stakeholders, including governments, scientists, and the public, have taken actions to mitigate plastic-related issues. However, there remains a crucial need for extensive consumer education on plastic sustainability, recycling practices, and reduced single-use consumption. The proposed research project aims to address these gaps by conducting a case study on consumer plastic behaviors in Marquette, Michigan, exploring factors influencing plastic consumption, reuse, and recycling knowledge and behaviors. The study would be undertaken in collaboration with Recycle906, Marquette County solid waste management authority. The findings from the study will be used to propose recommendations on how the plastic consumption footprint in Marquette can be reduced.

Co-Constructing Circular Economic Opportunities Through University Waste to Organics Diversion Program:

More than 108 billion pounds of food is wasted in the U.S. yearly, causing enormous economic loss and negative enviro-climatic impact. Most wasted food ends in landfills and is a major source of methane emissions in the U.S. Universities and colleges across the country are major food wasters. This presents circular economic opportunities for food waste diversion from landfills and repurposing into organic material for improved soil health and agricultural productivity. This project addresses this as it explores the opportunities for the diversion of food waste that is generated at Northern Michigan University dining to produce vermicompost.

Author Information

Dr. Jelili Adebiyi is trained as an agri-food system scholar-practitioner with a multidisciplinary background in sustainability, environmental science policy, Ecological Foods and Farming Systems (EFFS), Gender, Justice, and Environment (GJEC), and international development. He is interested in cross-cutting analytical and methodological tools that can be used to disentangle and address the institutional, gender, social, racial, and environmental justice issues that are interlocked in agri-food systems and development.