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Michigan Recycling Coalition EGLE celebrate progress state has made over 40 years

Workers sorting recycling materials.From the Bottle Bill to the Trash-O-Meter to expanded curbside recycling, the Michigan Recycling Coalition (MRC) is celebrating its 40th year of milestones this year. The anniversary will be marked today during the MRC’s 40th Annual Conference at Kellogg Center in East Lansing.  MRC is committed to fostering sustainability by leading, educating, and mobilizing businesses, government, nonprofits, and individuals alike in advancing resource reuse and recovery.

In MRC’s 40-year history, it’s built networks and partnership, collected and shared recycling data, convened stakeholders to evaluate and advocate recycling policy, conducted research, promoted recycling and reuse solutions, and tackled problems in the recycling supply chain.  MRC facilitates learning opportunities, shares information, tools, resources, and guidance to help local governments and businesses expand their resource recovery and meet sustainability goals through managing our natural resources to the benefit of the environmental, the economy, and our communities.   

Matt Flechter, recycling market development specialist at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, will speak at the conference on recycling funding priorities.

Although many challenges remain to realize the state’s full recycling potential, Michigan has come a long way since 1976, when the era of recycling started. Here are the highlights:

  • 1976 – Bottle Bill was approved by voters on November 2.
  • 1978 – Bottle deposit law was implemented December 3.
  • 1982 – Michigan Recycling Coalition was formed.
  • 1988 – Natural Resources Commission adopted the 1988 Solid Waste Policy and waste hierarchy.
  • 1988 – Voters approved a Quality of Life bond, $150 million for public and private sector grants and loans to reduce solid waste disposal.
  • 1989 – Bottle deposit law was amended to add wine coolers and address collection and distribution of escheats.
  • 1991 – Scrap tire law was enacted.
  • 1994 – Legislature banned the disposal of yard clippings, effective March 30, 1995.
  • 2000 –EGLE’s (then DEQ’s) first recycling specialist position was funded.
  • 2001 – MRC published first recycling measurement study.
  • 2002 – Trash-O-Meter caught international attention highlighting Michigan’s Canadian trash imports.
  • 2003 – Senate Beverage Container and Recycling Task Force recommended improving recycling and increasing solid waste surcharge to fund recycling, established the first solid waste surcharge of 7 cents per cubic yard of solid waste disposed.
  • 2004 – Solid waste law was amended to prohibit disposal of deposit beverage containers and scrap tires in landfills.
  • 2005 – EGLE (then DEQ) released report titled “Recommendations for Improving and Expanding Recycling in Michigan” along with recommendations to change solid waste planning process.
  • 2007 – State Solid Waste Policy was updated, refocusing on utilization as a preferred option to landfilling.
  • 2007 – Solid waste surcharge fee of 7 cents per cubic yard was extended to 2011.
  • 2008 – Solid waste regulations were amended to require composting facilities to register and meet new handling requirements.
  • 2008 – E-waste Takeback Law was enacted with an effective date of April 1, 2010.
  • 2011 – MRC releases “2011 State of Recycling in Michigan: A Way Forward."
  • 2011 – Solid waste surcharge was increased to 12 cents per cubic yard.
  • 2012 – Solid waste regulations were updated to prohibit open burning of waste.
  • 2012 –Governor created the Solid Waste Funding Workgroup.
  • 2013 - Bottle deposit law was amended to exempt flexible pouches.
  • 2014 – Governor announced Michigan’s recycling initiative and plan of action.
  • 2015 – Solid waste surcharge of 12 cents per cubic yard was extended to 2019.
  • 2017 – Recycling measurement law was enacted.
  • 2018 – Governor’s Recycling Council and Solid Waste and Sustainability Advisory Panel released recommendations:
    • Proposed solid waste law updates, review, and comments.
    • Governor proposed and Senator Nofs sponsored Senate Bill 943 to increase the solid waste surcharge to fund solid waste, recycling, and brownfield clean-up programs.
  • 2018 – Public Act 588 passed creating a Renew Michigan Fund directing 22% of revenue to recycling and 13% to waste management oversight.
  • 2019 to present – EGLE administered grants to support recycling infrastructure, recycling market development, and other recycling projects.
  • 2021 – House Bill 4454-4461 that would modernize Michigan’s recycling and solid waste programs passed House and moved to Senate.

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