Local officials say they need funds for special processing equipment for waste that otherwise degrades recycled products and causes expensive disposal problems.
Supporters of the ban say a statewide law is needed to avoid patchwork regulation that hinders businesses with multiple locations.
Michigan may authorize new uses for toxic coal ash by Great Lakes Echo
One of the bills that cleared the Michigan legislature this session was a provision that allows certain bio-waste materials to be re-used for beneficial purposes. These substances include things like cement kiln dust, wood pulp and coal ash. Coal ash is the leftover residue from coal burned by electric power plants. The bill permits coal ash to be used in road construction, but it may also be used in agriculture as a fertilizer supplement, causing some environmental advocates to become concerned. Current State’s Kevin Lavery speaks with Republican State Representative Wayne Schmidt, the bill’s main sponsor, who strongly states that coal ash is completely safe and does not pose any environmental threats.
The Michigan Recycling Coalition, has launched a state-wide recycling campaign, Recycle, MI, to increase recycling awareness and practices. The campaign is to help residents and businesses reduce waste, according to a press release. It encourages people to start recycling at their homes and work places, volunteer at recycling events or facilities and distribute information about recycling in their town, the campaign’s website explains. Recycle, MI has been promoted on radio stations that began this spring mostly in southeast Michigan and will continue in different regions throughout the summer, said Kerrin O’Brien, executive director of the group. “We really saw a need to promote recycling across the state — to unite Michiganders under this logo and message,” she said.
For at least the past decade, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has sought comprehensive regulations on reusing industrial byproducts like coal ash, the material generated from burning coal for electricity, as an alternative to sending it to landfills.
The “beneficial use” bills, which recently passed the state House, would formally regulate the use of over a dozen forms of industrial byproducts across a variety of sectors, including construction fill and on agricultural land.