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Environment & Climate Change

More waste ending up in Michigan landfills, says state environmental agency

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Stephen McChesney
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Flickr Creative Commons

    

The amount of waste sent to Michigan landfills jumped by 4.7% last year - following a ten-year decline.

That's  according to a recent report by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. 

MDEQ spokesperson Karen Tommasulo said every year Michiganders send $435 million of recyclable materials to the dump.

"We currently have one of the lower recycling rates in the Great Lakes area," said Tommasulo. "Only about 15 percent of our residential waste is recycled." 

Last year Gov. Snyder said he wants to double the state's residential recycling rate within two years.

Tommasulo said even though over 20% of the waste deposited in Michigan landfills comes from other states and Canada, "the vast majority of the increase is from Michiganders themselves."

Tammasulo also noted that increased waste could be a sign of economic recovery. "As people have more money and businesses are working harder, we see more waste and more consumption," she said. "And a lot of that goes into a landfill."

If trends continue, Michigan's existing landfills will run out of room in 26 years, according to the MDEQ.

Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom