Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

October 31, 2013

Lawmakers review law on yard waste in landfills

LANSING (AP) — Michigan lawmakers are considering a proposal to allow exceptions to a 1994 law that prevents landfills from taking yard waste, which could affect grass-cutting and leaf-raking throughout the state.

The state Senate’s Energy and Technology Committee heard testimony Tuesday on the law that barred grass, twigs and leaves from being dumped in landfills along with regular household waste, The Detroit News reported.

State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, has sponsored a bill to give communities the option to send yard waste to dump sites. The proposal, which the committee could discuss again next week, would allow exceptions to the ban when yard waste can be used for energy production.

“We have a lot of yard waste that could be picked up by some landfills, but it doesn’t need to be all of them,” Jones said. “Some of that could be converted to methane gas and then electricity.”

The bill also would require landfill owners accepting the waste to file annual reports on gas production.

The proposal raised concerns it could hinder recycling and hurt some composting businesses. Fred Thompson started Summer Recycling in Casco in 1990, several years before the state enacted its yard waste ban. It does composting and he testified Tuesday against lifting the ban.

“Truly, I think it would put us out of business,” he said. “Haulers would perceive it as cheaper to take the yard waste directly to landfills.”

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