The MDEQ recently announced that for fiscal year 2009 Michigan residents and businesses decreased their total solid waste volume by 13%. Waste imported from other states and Canada also reportedly decreased by roughly 24%. Good news to the extent that this significant reduction is attributable to an increased focus on sustainability. Every silver lining has a host rain cloud though, and the MDEQ was quick to point out that the $0.21 per ton fee on solid waste disposed in Michigan landfills is what funds its solid waste program and the continued decline in solid waste disposal means there are fewer dollars to fund that program. The MDEQ stated that this has “serious implications for Michigan’s ability to continue the current level of permitting, inspections and oversight of solid waste management in the state.” The press release went on to say that Michigan’s disposal fee is the lowest in the Great Lakes region. Translation: you can expect that the MDEQ will be asking for a fee increase.
This past year our client, the City of Westland, joined the effort to reduce solid waste disposal volumes. During the summer of 2009 the City implemented a curbside recycling program for all residential units, and as a result has seen its landfill waste drop by about 25% in the last quarter of 2009. The City is starting to see both cost savings and new revenues, and Mayor William Wild is thrilled with the outcome of the program to date. Our firm had the privilege of negotiating the contracts with each of the recycling program vendors.
If you have environmental questions, feel free to contact Andrea Montbriand at firstname.lastname@example.org.