A series of bills in the state Legislature are aimed at updating and transforming Michigan’s laws regulating solid wastes with an eye toward increasing recycling. Advocates hope to have a statewide recycling rate of 35 percent by 2025. “This is not a partisan issue,” said bill sponsor State Rep. Gary Howell, R-Deerfield Township, during a committee hearing. “This is an issue as to what is good for the state of Michigan, regardless of your political perspective.”
The bills would update definitions in the state’s almost 30-year old law to emphasize a new focus on what can happen to materials after their initial use is over. HB 5812, HB 5813, HB 5814, HB 5815, HB 5816 and HB 5817 would also, among other things, update licensing requirements and increase fees based on inflation for disposal areas. They would update gas management requirements for disposal areas, and provide for increased oversight of compost and recycling facilities.
A county planning framework is aimed at creating benchmark recycling standards, such as making curbside recycling available for 90 percent of urbanized residents and making recycling drop-offs more available. “It is like a fundamental shift in how we manage our materials, our discards, and our solid waste,” said Sean Hammond, policy director for the Michigan Environmental Council.