The mission of the Copper Country Recycling Initiative (CCRI) is to work toward a Zero Waste System, envisioning a community that not only recycles but creates less waste in our everyday lives. This includes reducing consumption, buying in bulk, avoiding packaging, purchasing items made with recycled materials, donating items for reuse, educating the community on environmental stewardship and envisioning our trash as a resource.

1993: Grassroots group instigated a recycling trial for 6 county townships, villages and the City of Houghton.  After the 6 months the trial ended.

1996: Citizen’s Committee instigated curbside recycling in Hancock.  Participation in the program was 6 or 14% of the households.

2003: Waste Management established a recycling drop-off center in Houghton.

2014: Houghton County Planning Commission brought Elise Seltzer, Emmet Co. Dir. of Recycling to speak.  A Task Force of people who attended the presentation was motivated to apply for a new MDEQ grant program to recycle cardboard at the County Transfer Station and the CCRI was born.

2015: CCRI received a $92,000 MDEQ grant (the largest in the state) to recycle cardboard and provide recycling education program. 

2016: A cardboard recycling center was completed at the Houghton County Transfer Station, and another one at the Chassell Township headquarters.  Cardboard Launch celebration at the Portage Lake District Library.

2016 Fall: Working together both cities of Hancock and Houghton awarded contracts to Waste Management, which included curbside recycling.

2017 Recycling 1-Year Anniversary Celebration at PLDL.

2020 CCRI Survey of the County

2020 Earth Day County offers single stream recycling at Transfer Station

​Our Partners

CCRI has partnered with businesses, organizations and local governmental agencies to promote recycling in our area.


Houghton County BOC

Recycle 906

Cities of Houghton and Hancock

MTU SDH, Sustainability Demonstration House

MTU faculty: Dr. Siegel, Dr. Wellstead, Dr. Winkler

MTU CSEO, Center for Science and Environmental Outreach

MTU office of Resilience and Sustainability

LSSI, Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative

Area businesses (supporters of our cardboard recycling): 

Down Wind Sports

Kirkish Furniture

Rhythm Bike & Board Co.

Dan Riutta Contracting & Sales

Cross Country Sports

Monte Consulting

Good Times Music

Surplus Outlet


Blue Terra Energy

The Print Shop

BHK Child Development Board

Manderfield Plumbing, Heating & Electric

State Wide Real Estate – Kevin Liimatta

Keweenaw Brewing Company

\Portage Lake District Library

Keweenaw Food Co-op

Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative

Keweenaw Kountry Store