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Michigan taking in less trash

by Candice Miller on February 23, 2012

Amount falls 0.9% during fiscal 2011
By CRYSTAL GARCIA
Times Herald
http://www.thetimesherald.com/article/20120223/NEWS01/202230304/Michigan-taking-less-trash?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
The amount of garbage coming into Michigan has taken a slight dip.
 
The Department of Environmental Quality’s annual report on solid waste coming into the state’s landfills shows an overall decrease of 0.9%, including a decrease of about 20% in trash imported from Canada. The report analyzes the amount of waste that came into Michigan from October 2010 to September 2011.
 
According to the report, the total waste from St. Clair County disposed in landfills was 860,434 cubic yards; the total disposed in the Smiths Creek Sanitary Landfill was 506,193 cubic yards. Smiths Creek accepts only trash originating in St. Clair County.
 
According to the report, Smiths Creek has 28 years of capacity remaining.
 
Democratic U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin are pleased with the decrease in international trash, crediting an agreement they secured with Ontario officials in 2006.
 
“This report reflects the success of our agreement and the important progress we have made in stopping this trash,” Stabenow said in a statement. “Canadian trash poses serious health, safety and security threats to Michigan families and communities, and I remain committed to stopping other types of trash from being dumped in our state.”
 
The 2006 agreement ended the import of residential trash from Canada by 2010. The agreement still allows commercial trash from Canada, which comprises the majority of what comes into state landfills.
 
“I’m pleased that trash shipments from Canada have been reduced significantly since the 2006 agreement, and that it appears Canada continues to fulfill its obligations under that agreement,” Levin said in a statement. “We’re going to continue to work to eliminate the balance of Canada’s trash shipments, either through further agreement or through legislation.”
 
DEQ officials expect Canadian waste to continue to decrease, but it still remains the largest source of waste imported into the state, accounting for 15.3% of all waste disposed of in state landfills, the report stated.
 
Not every official is happy with Canadian trash still accounting for 15.3% of waste disposed of in the state landfills.
 
U.S. Rep. Candice Miller said she believes legislation eliminating the importation of international trash should be passed.
 
Miller, R-Harrison Township, said she often drives by Pine Tree Acres Landfill in Lenox Township and calls it a “mountain of Canadian garbage.”
 
While calling the reduction positive, Miller said it’s not reducing the number of Canadian trash trucks causing wear on Michigan roadways.
 
“I don’t think what the senators are doing is the right path forward,” she said. “I would have preferred to see it eliminated.”
 
Miller is attempting to pass legislation reducing or halting the importation of out-of-state trash. Passing such legislation would be difficult, however, as it is a large commodity for some states.
 
Pine Tree Acres handled 4,642,821 cubic yards of trash in 2011. Canadian trash accounted for 3,473,371 cubic yards; the landfill handled 4,277 cubic yards of industrial waste generated in St. Clair County.
 
In 2011, Canada exported 6,983,127 cubic yards of waste to Michigan, down from 8,757,014 cubic yards in 2010. Michigan residents and businesses dumped 35,857,898 cubic yards of waste in state landfalls in 2011.
 
After Canada, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois and Indiana round out the top five origins of waste coming into the state, the report showed.
 
The amount of garbage from Florida, Indiana, Maryland and Massachusetts increased in 2011 from 2010.
 
Waste from Michigan residents and businesses increased about 3%, according to the DEQ report

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