Meijer is donating $1 million to the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) to help clean up beaches and waterways in the northern Midwest.
Meijer is the largest grocery chain in the American Midwest, headquartered in Walker, Michigan and with over 250 stores in six states. The company, which was founded in 1934, is credited with having invented the supercenter, which now includes stores like Walmart, Kmart and Target.
On Monday, just a few days after Earth Day, the company announced they would be donating $1 million to the CGLR Foundation to help them fund three new technologies to help keep plastic waste out of the Great Lakes. An estimated 22 million pounds of plastic litter reaches the Great Lakes annually, making up more than 4/5 of all the litter that enters the waterways.
“We are very excited to be working with Meijer to expand the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup in the United States in 2022, the 50th anniversary of the United States-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement,” said Mark Fisher, president and CEO for the CGLR. “Meijer has had a long-standing commitment to protecting the environment and this investment in the GLPC will reduce plastic pollution and keep this globally significant natural resource beautiful and clean for generations to come.”
Some of the donation will fund BeBot, a line of remote-controlled beach cleaning robots. Solar-powered and about the size of a lawn mower, these robots run on tank treads and sift trash and debris out of the Lakes’ many sand beaches, to be collected for recycling or proper disposal.
Some will go to the Pixie Drones, small robot boats which will seine plastic waste out of marinas and busy waterways. Each drone can collect up to 200 pounds of waste, and will also collect water data to track pollutants.
The remainder will be for installing stormwater filtration systems in the parking lots around Meijer supercenters, preventing parking lot trash down to the microplastic level from reaching nearby waterways.