Michigan releases 2019 solid waste report: 8.5% increase in state trash disposal

This is the biggest year-to-year increase in Michigan waste generation in past decade

The Arbor Hills Landfill in Northville, Mich. (WDIV)

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) has released its 2019 fiscal year solid waste report.

  • There was a 6.2 percent overall increase in solid waste disposed of in Michigan landfills compared to the same period in 2018.
  • Waste disposed of by Michigan residents and businesses increased by about 8.5 percent, the largest spike we’ve seen in the past decade (see Table 1 below).
  • Waste imported from other states and Canada decreased by about 1 percent.

Waste generated in Michigan increased from 39,932,328 cubic yards in the previous reporting period (fiscal year 2018) to 43,324,503 cubic yards in 2019, an increase of about 8.5 percent. That’s the largest such increase year-to-year in the past 10 years.

Meanwhile, total imports of waste into Michigan landfills decreased from the previous reporting period from 12,512,887 cubic yards to 12,380,141 cubic yards, a decrease of about 1.1 percent in fiscal year 2019.

Imported waste represents about 22 percent of all waste disposed of in Michigan landfills, according to this 2019 report. The largest source of waste imported into Michigan was still Canada, contributing 17.1 percent of waste disposed of in Michigan.

Twelve states imported waste into Michigan in 2019. Of those, Ohio contributed the largest amount of waste from an individual state that was imported to Michigan.

All 66 Michigan landfills are required to submit information on disposal to EGLE, which then compiles this information into an annual report for the Michigan Legislature.

You can view the full “Report Of Solid Waste Landfilled In Michigan -- October 1, 2018 - September 30, 2019” right here.

2019 Report Of Solid Waste Landfilled In Michigan (EGLE)


Recycling dos and don’ts

If this has you wondering about recycling, we took a closer look at how it works last year:

Recycling has gotten easier. We no longer need to sort all that paper, plastic, glass and metal. Most communities offer one big cart for all of your recyclables. The sorting happens at a facility, such as the Recycling Authority in Southfield, where they process 300 tons of material every day.

Many people throw everything into their recycling bin and hope for the best.

But that one-cart system has a downside known as wishful recycling. We wish that everything was recyclable, so we toss it into the bin and hope for the best. That contamination costs time and money that has forced some communities to abandon recycling altogether.

What you should put in the recycle bin:

  • All metal cans, tins, and aluminum foil
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Rinsed glass bottles and jars (Lids and labels are okay)
  • Rinsed plastic bottles and containers
  • Newspapers, catalogs and magazines, junk mail, household paper.
  • Cardboard boxes

What you should NOT put in the recycle bin:

  • Styrofoam (packing material or egg cartons)
  • Plastic bags (grocery, dry cleaning, or trash bags)
  • Wire or plastic hangers
  • Garden hose
  • Any container with food stains or grease (such as a pizza box)
  • Batteries

Before you toss something into the recycle bin, take a few seconds to consider if it belongs there. It’s way better to be part of the solution than part of the problem.