One-Third Of Michigan Solid Waste Is Imported
Solid waste imported into Michigan made up 29 percent of all waste disposed of in Michigan landfills in Fiscal Year 2005, according to The Report of Solid Waste Landfilled in Michigan released Friday by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
The largest source of waste imports into Michigan continues to be from Canada, with total imports of 11,878,091 cubic yards, up three percent from FY04.
Waste disposed of by Michigan residents decreased by about one percent, to 45,437,244 cubic yards, while waste imported from other states and Canada increased 354,018 cubic yards, about two percent.
“It is discouraging to see the amount of waste being brought into Michigan from outside of our borders continue to increase,” said DEQ Director Steven Chester. “This fact must call attention to the need for real action on solid waste issues in the Legislature.”
The DEQ proposed a comprehensive solid waste strategy in 2005 to address solid waste issues that included raising the cost of using Michigans landfills in order to provide funding to local communities to increase recycling, expanding the Bottle Bill to control litter and reduce the amount of recyclable material going to landfills, and ensuring disposal capacity for waste generated in Michigan while reducing excess capacity attractive to out-of-state waste generators.
While no action was taken on these initiatives, recent research conducted in Wisconsin has demonstrated the benefits of such programs, Chester said.
Wisconsin added a $3 per ton recycling surcharge to landfill tipping fees in 2002, providing funding support for Wisconsins state recycling program and resulting in a decrease in waste imports by approximately 17 percent from 2001.
The Wisconsin report noted that an increase in Wisconsins surcharge of $7 per ton could provide a 50 percent reduction in out-of-state waste disposal in Wisconsin while providing increased revenue to fund a comprehensive state recycling program.
Pennsylvania, which increased its surcharge to $7.25 per ton, has also experienced a reduction in solid waste imports.
Based on the capacity used during FY05, it is estimated that Michigan landfills have approximately 17 years of remaining disposal capacity.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.