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Executive Directive 2019 - 16

Executive Directive


No. 2019-16


To:       State Department Directors and Autonomous Agency Heads

From:  Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Date:   September 17, 2019

Re:      Leading by Example in State Recycling



Recycling and other sustainable materials management practices are vital to protecting Michigan’s environment and public health.  They also create jobs and economic opportunity and serve as pillars of an effective response to climate change.


Over recent years, the State of Michigan has made concerted efforts to establish a plan for tracking and improving recycling and waste management practices in facilities owned, managed, or leased by the state. These efforts have increased the amount of materials recycled by the state, improved the state’s recycling and waste management data, and produced a framework for state agencies to meet their individualized recycling needs.


Nonetheless, even with these positive steps, Michigan remains behind neighboring states in overall recycling efforts, and recent changes to national waste and recycling markets have made it even more challenging to adopt recycling initiatives that are both robust and cost effective.


To tackle these challenges, the State of Michigan must lead by example. It must reaffirm its commitment to improving recycling rates and reducing waste contamination, and it must redouble its efforts to develop and implement effective recycling and waste management practices for its facilities. By doing so, the State of Michigan can lay the groundwork for the successful pursuit of ambitious sustainability goals across our state, from rural communities to downtown Detroit and from private citizens to businesses, schools, and other institutions.


Education and participation will be critical to the success of these efforts. The effectiveness of the State of Michigan’s commitment to recycling depends, more than anything else, on the daily decisions and actions of its employees. And to be effective, recycling must be done right – which is not as simple as just looking for a recycling symbol on a product or tossing an item into a recycling bin. The State of Michigan must work diligently to ensure that meaningful information about the “how” and “why” of recycling is broadly accessible, and that state employees both hear this message and act upon it.



Acting under sections 1 and 8 of article 5 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, I direct the following:


  1. The Department of Technology, Management, and Budget (the “Department”) shall coordinate, monitor, and report on the implementation of this directive and the state’s recycling program. The Department shall provide progress reports to the governor every six months, with the first report due March 1, 2020. The Department shall make the reports available to the public on its website. 


  1. The Department, in conjunction with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, shall review the current status of the state’s recycling program and shall identify and develop policies and procedures to expand and improve upon the program and its utilization by state employees. This shall include evaluation of current efforts to educate and engage state employees regarding available recycling services and recycling best practices.


  1. The Department shall ensure each department and agency has up-to-date information regarding the implementation of this directive and the state’s recycling program, including all information necessary to ensure that the department or agency is able to comply with this directive and participate in the state’s recycling program as fully as possible. 


  1. The Department, in conjunction with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, shall provide an annual report to the governor regarding the pounds of materials disposed of and pounds of materials recycled statewide, to the extent practical. The first such report shall be due March 1, 2021. The Department shall make the reports available to the public on its website.


  1. Each department and agency, except as otherwise provided, shall do the following:


  1. Confirm with the Department a point of contact for the department or agency regarding recycling services.


  1. Review its existing inventory of facilities and identify opportunities to expand or improve upon the effectiveness and utilization of recycling services offered at those facilities.


  1. Report to the Department every six months regarding: the percentage of its facilities that offer recycling services; the number of its facilities that are not exempt under Paragraph 6 of this directive; the number of its non-exempt facilities that offer recycling services; the pounds of materials disposed of and pounds of materials recycled at its facilities, to the extent practical; any recycling credits it has received from vendors; any recommendations it may have for improving or expanding its facilities’ recycling services; and any other information regarding its facilities’ recycling services requested by the Department. The first report shall be provided to the Department by February 1, 2020.


  1. If a department director or agency head believes that providing recycling services at certain facilities may not be feasible, he or she may submit to the director of the Department a written request for an exemption, stating the reasons for the request. The director of the Department may approve written requests for exemptions from this directive for certain facilities if the director is satisfied that providing recycling is not practical. Circumstances under which an exemption may be granted shall include, but are not limited to, the following:


  1. The facility is less than 500 square feet;


  1. Less than 7 full-time employees work at the facility full time;


  1. Recycling services are confirmed to be unavailable for the facility location;


  1. The facility serves as livable quarters; or


  1. The facility serves as an industrial or utility structure.


  1. All departments and agencies shall follow the policies and procedures developed by the Department in connection with this directive.


This directive is effective immediately.


Thank you for your cooperation in implementing this directive.