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Learn About Waste Management
Learn About Waste Management
In recent years, waste management in Michigan has changed focus from landfill disposal to highest and best reuse of discarded materials through conservation, repurposing, and recycling. This shift has resulted in more materials repurposed, reclaimed, and recycled or diverted to incineration, instead of going to a landfill. Learn more about sustainable waste management options and how landfills work at the links below. Learn more about recycling commodities like paper, plastic, wood, glass, etc., on our Learn About Recycling Website.
Household Hazardous Waste
Household hazardous waste (HHW) includes products that we purchase and use every day in our homes that can harm us or the environment if they are not handled properly. To see if a material is a HHW, look for words such as 'warning,' 'caution,' 'flammable,' 'toxic,' 'poison,' 'corrosive,' 'oxidizer,' etc. on the labels. If you have leftover, unwanted household materials that are hazardous, it is best to routinely take them to a local HHW collection if one is available. Never pour HHW into a storm drain or down a drain in your home. If a collection is not available, contact your trash hauler to see if there are special instructions for safely disposing the material in the regular trash.
Proper drug disposal is important because it helps protect human health and our environment. Unwanted drugs should not be flushed down the rain. Medications should be kept secure when in the home to prevent unlawful use. When drugs are no longer needed, they should be taken to a collection for incineration to destroy the chemicals within them and prevent them from entering the water resources we use for drinking water.
Solid Waste Haulers
Garbage trucks come in different designs that are dependent on the type of containers they service. Garbage trucks that collect household trash hold between 12 to 14 tons of waste and can service between 800 and 850 homes before going to the landfill.
Needles and Lancets
Needles and lancets, also called “sharps,” if not disposed of in puncture- resistant containers, can injure waste haulers, pollute our environment, and increase the risk of infection. People at the greatest risk of suffering a needle stick injury include sanitation and sewage treatment plant workers, janitors, housekeepers, and children. Needle stick injury victims may suffer anxiety, depression, disease monitoring, and possible long-term infectious disease treatment.
Solid Waste Landfill
Today’s landfills are sophisticated, highly engineered systems designed to protect people and our groundwater by controlling and managing newly generated waste or emissions from the decomposing waste in the disposal facility. To reduce the impacts of our material choices on our natural resources, the environment, and climate, EGLE permits and licenses solid waste disposal facilities, while encouraging residents reuse, repurpose, recycle, and divert materials not well suited for landfill disposal, like household hazardous waste.
Each day in the US approximately one pound of food per person is wasted. One third of the food produced in the world goes to waste. In America in 2017 81.4 billion pounds of food waste was generated, 30-40 percent of the entire food supply. Some food products never leave the farm, some get lost or spoiled during distribution, and the rest gets thrown away once purchased. This could be enough to feed every undernourished person on the planet. Read on to learn more about how you can help prevent food waste.
Compost is organic material that has been decomposed in a controlled manner. It is commonly referred to as black gold by gardeners and provides some fertility to plants. Compost, whether homemade or store bought, recycles nutrients and organic materials, and helps grow trouble-free plants.
Scrap tires pose a fire risk and a human health risk as mosquito breeding grounds. Whole tires have been banned from Michigan landfills since 2004. Over 10 million scrap tires are generated annually in Michigan. These tires can be turned into mulch, tire derived fuel, incorporated into roads, shredded, and used for aggregate in backfill and drain fields, and some are even used to manufacture new tires and plastics.
Electronics, such as computers, computer monitors, televisions, laptops, VCRs, cell phones, printers, computer mice, remote controls, telephones, video games, fax machines, printers, and electronic cigarettes often contain toxic materials such as lead, cadmium, chromium, mercury, and fire retardants. It is important to recycle e-waste for the valuable materials and to keep toxic materials out of our landfills. It is also important to recognize how to safely recycle these materials.