Innovative Initiatives Proposed to Promote Greener Communities; New reports recommend sustainable waste materials management

Contact: Steve Sliver, Waste Management and Radiological Protection, slivers@michigan.gov, 517-290-2943
Agency: Environmental Quality

March 27, 2017

Representatives from business, environmental groups, industry, academia, and government have come together to make Michigan greener buy proposing 21st century infrastructure solutions for sustainable waste materials management.

The recommendations include revitalizing Michigan’s solid waste law to focus on removing barriers and recognizing waste as a resource to help double the states recycling rate. The current rate of 15 percent is far below the national average.  In proposing these initiatives, the collaborative group recognized reducing the state’s waste will go a long way in promoting stronger, healthier communities. 

"We need to change the way we look at waste by fostering convenient, comprehensive, and cost-effective opportunities that benefit Michigan’s economy and environment, as well as provide value for our families,” Governor Rick Snyder said.  

The details are included in two complimentary reports produced by the Governor’s Recycling Council (GRC) and the Solid Waste and Sustainability Advisory Panel (SWSAP) and available at www.michigan.gov/deqswsap. Highlights of the reports include:

  • Investment in the infrastructure needed to collect and process recyclable materials.
  • Robust local planning processes with measurable recycling goals.
  • Education campaigns to promote recycling and understand waste management.
  • Assistance to local governments for developing and operating collection and processing programs.

Accomplishing these goals will require changes to Part 115 of the National Resources and Environmental Protection Act which deals with solid waste management. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) will work with members of the GRC and SWSAP to develop robust legislation and identify funding to implement the recommendations. 

The GRC advises the Governor and the MDEQ regarding implementation of the Governor’s Residential Recycling Plan.  The SWSAP advises the MDEQ about ways to reach the state’s solid waste and sustainability goals.