- The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is seeking public comment on draft changes to its statewide solid waste laws.
- The proposals come from a 13-member Solid Waste and Sustainability Advisory Panel, including representatives from businesses, environmental groups, academia, local government and the waste industry. The panel was formed in April 2015 to review existing laws.
- A public meeting will be held on July 20 and the DEQ is accepting comments or recommendations until Aug. 1.
Michigan's Solid Waste Policy was last changed in 2007 and is meant to be reviewed for necessary updates every five years. These proposals are intended to guide legislation for amending Part 115 of the state's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. Areas of focus include composting, post-closure procedures, coal combustion residuals, radioactive materials, funding, compliance, and enforcement.
In a broad sense, the panel's mission boils down to this statement from the proposal document: "County and regional planning must evolve as Michigan relies less on disposal and moves toward a broader materials management scheme to support the state’s Solid Waste Policy and the Governor’s goal of doubling Michigan’s recycling rate. We need to focus on materials management rather than solid waste management."
Governor Rick Snyder has set a goal of doubling the state's recycling rate to 30%, but progress has been slow and hard to track. A new bill was signed earlier this year requiring recyclers to submit regular reports to DEQ on the volume of material they process which may help better understand what's happening in the state. Recent developments such as limited landfill space in Michigan's Kent County have also increased the urgency around this issue.