From the Bottle Bill to the Trash-O-Meter to expanded curbside recycling, the Michigan Recycling Coalition (MRC) is celebrating its 40th anniversaryth Year of milestones this year. The anniversary will be celebrated today during the MRC’s 40th Annual Conference at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. MRC is committed to advancing sustainability by guiding, educating and mobilizing businesses, governments, non-profits and individuals alike to advance resource reuse and recovery.
Throughout MRC’s 40-year history, it has built networks and partnerships, collected and shared recycling data, brought together stakeholders to evaluate and advocate for recycling policies, conducted research, promoted recycling and reuse solutions, and addressed issues in the recycling supply chain. MRC facilitates learning opportunities, shares information, tools, resources and guidance to help local governments and businesses increase resource recovery and achieve sustainability goals by managing our natural resources for the benefit of the environment, economy and our communities.
Matt Flechter, recycling market development specialist at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, will speak at the conference on recycling finance priorities.
While many challenges remain to realize the state’s full recycling potential, Michigan has come a long way since 1976, when the recycling era began. Here are the highlights:
- 1976 – bottle bill was approved by voters on November 2nd.
- 1978 – The bottle deposit law was introduced on December 3rd.
- 1982 – The Michigan Recycling Coalition is formed.
- 1988 – The Natural Resources Commission passed the 1988 Waste Directive and Waste Hierarchy.
- 1988 – Voters approved a $150 million Quality of Life Bond for public and private sector grants and loans to reduce solid waste disposal.
- 1989 – The Bottle Deposit Act was amended to add wine coolers and address the collection and distribution of legacy.
- 1991 – Waste tire law is enacted.
- 1994 – Legislation banned the disposal of garden clippings effective March 30, 1995.
- 2000 – The first EGLE (then DEQ) recycling specialist position was funded.
- 2001 – MRC released first Study on recycling measurement.
- 2002 – Trash-O-Meter attracted international attention by highlighting Michigan’s Canadian trash imports.
- 2003 – The Senate Beverage Containers and Recycling Task Force recommended improving recycling and increasing the solid waste surcharge to fund recycling, instituted the first solid waste surcharge of 7 cents per cubic yard of solid waste disposed.
- 2004 – The Waste Act was amended to prohibit the disposal of deposit drink containers and used tires in landfills.
- 2005 – EGLE (then DEQ) published a report entitled “Recommendations for Improving and Expanding Recycling in Michigan” along with recommendations change the waste planning process.
- 2007 – The state solid waste policy was updated with a renewed focus on use as the preferred option over landfill.
- 2007 – The solid waste surcharge of 7 cents per cubic yard was extended through 2011.
- 2008 – Solid waste regulations changed to require composting facilities to register and comply with new handling requirements.
- 2008 – The electronic scrap take-back law was passed with effect from April 1, 2010.
- 2011 – MRC Publications “2011 Michigan State of Recycling: A Way Forward.”
- 2011 – Waste surcharge increased to 12 cents per cubic metre.
- 2012 – Solid waste regulations were updated to prohibit open burning of waste.
- 2012 – The Governor established the Solid Waste Funding Workgroup.
- 2013 – The bottle deposit law was changed to exempt flexible bags.
- 2014 – The governor announced Michigan’s Recycling Initiative and Plan of Action.
- 2015 – The waste surcharge of 12 cents per cubic yard was extended through 2019.
- 2017 – Recycling Measurement Act was passed.
- 2018 – Governor’s Recycling Council and Solid Waste and Sustainability Advisory Board published recommendations:
- Proposed updates, reviews and comments on the Solid Waste Act.
- The governor proposed and Senator Nofs supported Senate Bill 943 to increase the waste surcharge to fund waste, recycling and contaminated sites programs.
- 2018 – Public Act 588 passed the creation of a Renew Michigan Fund that spends 22% of revenue on recycling and 13% on waste management oversight.
- 2019 to present – EGLE managed grants to support recycling infrastructure, recycling market development and other recycling projects.
- 2021 – House Bill 4454-4461, which would modernize Michigan’s recycling and waste programs, passed the House and moved to the Senate.
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