Michigan Sees Decline in 2009 Waste Volume; Parallels Nation

Date: January 16, 2010

Source: Michigan DEQ and Waste Business Journal

Michigan Sees Decline in 2009 Waste Volume; Parallels Nation

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) reported a 16 percent decline in waste going to landfills in its state in 2009. Total disposal volume dropped to 47.8 million cubic yards from 57.1 million yards disposed in 2008. Much of the decline was due to a 13 percent drop in waste generated within the state. "Some of that may be due to the economy," said Robert McCann, a spokesman for Michigan's DEQ. Waste originating from Canada declined by 16 percent largely as a result of a deal in 2006 crafted by Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin with Canadian officials to gradually reduce the amount of waste coming across the border into Michigan. Under the arrangement, Michigan was supposed to see a 20 percent drop in Canadian trash in 2007 and a 40 percent drop by 2008, but those numbers never materialized.

The economy is certainly a factor, particularly for Michigan an industrialized state hard hit by the auto industry. While statistics for 2009 are not yet finalized, Waste Business Journal is projecting a 6.5 percent decline in total US waste generation from 2008. Declines in residential volumes, which constitute three fourths of the waste stream, are off modestly about 3 percent; however, construction and demolition materials, representing 12 percent of the waste stream, are off as much as 20 percent from last year. Commercial wastes from businesses, representing the other 13 percent of all wastes, are expected to be off as much as 15 percent from last year.

Annual Solid Waste Report Released

January 15, 2010

The Report of Solid Waste Landfilled in Michigan for fiscal year (FY) 2009 was released today by the Department of Environmental Quality and shows that Michigan landfills disposed of 47,837,680 cubic yards of solid waste in FY 2009.

Waste disposed of by Michigan residents and businesses decreased by 5,284,953 cubic yards, about 13 percent, to 34,751,326 cubic yards, and waste imported from other states and Canada also decreased this fiscal year by 4,119,906 cubic yards, approximately 24 percent, to 13,086,354 cubic yards. Imported waste made up 27 percent of all waste disposed of in Michigan, down from 30 percent the prior year.

The largest source of waste imports into Michigan continues to be from Canada, equaling about 19 percent of all waste disposed of in Michigan landfills. In FY 2009, 9,054,371 cubic yards were received from Canada, a decrease from FY 2008 of about 16 percent.

The DEQ report does not conclude the cause of the decreases. However, they are likely due to a combination of factors including increased recycling rates, and the slow economy nationwide.

DEQ Interim Director Jim Sygo warned that the sharp decrease in solid waste disposal would impact the state's ability to ensure that it's waste stream was safe and protective of the environment.

"Michigan's solid waste program is funded from a 21-cents-per-ton fee on solid waste disposed in Michigan landfills," said Sygo. "This continued decline in disposal means fewer resources available to our department, and has serious implications for Michigan's ability to continue the current level of permitting, inspections, and oversight of solid waste management in the state."

Michigan's 21-cents-per-ton fee is the lowest in the Great Lakes Region.

Based on the capacity used during FY 2009, the reduction of waste disposed, and additional permitted landfill capacity, it is estimated that Michigan landfills have approximately 25 years of remaining disposal capacity.

The data released today appears in the 14th annual report prepared by the DEQ. Submittal of this information to the DEQ is required of all Michigan landfills.

The specific amounts of waste generated by the various jurisdictions are:

FY 2008 FY 2009
CANADA 10,722,164 9,054,371
CONNECTICUT 41,710 5,870
FLORIDA 15,410 5,800
ILLINOIS 859,072 409,456
INDIANA 1,405,435 897,328
MARYLAND 56,474 38,178
MASSACHUSETTS 33,310 3,486
MICHIGAN 40,036,279 34,751,326
NEW JERSEY 2,143,855 1,083,468
NEW YORK 137,728 67,888
OHIO 1,323,790 1,249,519
PENNSYLVANIA 57,901 6,900
WISCONSIN 353,036 264,053

To receive a copy of the annual report, please contact the DEQ, Waste and Hazardous Materials Division, Storage Tank and Solid Waste Section, P.O. Box 30241, Lansing, Michigan 48909-7741, at 517-241-2924; or download the annual report from the DEQ Web site at www.michigan.gov/deq (Click on "Waste," then "Solid Waste," and under "Information," click on "Annual Reports of Solid Waste Landfilled in Michigan," and then click on the link for the fiscal year report desired).

Editor's note: DEQ news releases are available on the department's Internet home page at www.michigan.gov/deq.

Contact: Robert McCann
(517) 373-7917
Agency: Environmental Quality

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