Richardville and Brown introduce bills to expand recycling and reduce waste in Michigan
Sens. Randy Richardville and Cameron S. Brown today introduced legislation, as part of the Senate's "Green Michigan Initiative," that will help state residents become better environmental stewards by expanding recycling opportunities and reducing waste.
"As Michigan ranks last in the Great Lakes states for recycling, it is our goal to help develop additional programs that will encourage state residents to practice stewardship of our natural resources," said Brown, R-Fawn River Township. "Michigan has a great opportunity to expand recycling and rise from its current place near the bottom."
Much of the 19-bill legislative package is based upon recommendations from a year-long recycling task force chaired by Brown in 2003.
One of the main recommendations was to establish a Recycling Advisory Council that would develop a statewide recycling program, review state laws affecting recycling and make suggestions for grant and educational programs. Senate Bill 889, sponsored by Brown, will create the council.
The task force also recommended the enactment of landfill bans to encourage that items be recycled rather than sent to landfills. Senate Bill 903 will place such a ban on consumer computer electronics.
"Banning computer electronics will help reduce the amount of waste entering Michigan because we will no longer accept these items from out-of-state sources," said Richardville, R-Monroe, sponsor of the legislation. "Instead, Michigan residents will be able to recycle electronics and ensure the wise use of Michigan landfill space."
A recycling program for consumer computer electronics will be created by Senate Bills 897 and 898. Similar consumer e-waste recycling programs have been used in Maryland, Texas and Maine where manufacturers and recycling stations are working together to take back specific electronics.
"Overall, this legislation is designed to increase recycling, while at the same time reduce waste," Brown said. "We want to increase the public's awareness of the value of recycling and leave a legacy of accomplishment to carry us into the future."
Other measures in the legislative package will:
Provide tax incentives for companies that invest in recycling;
Create a Recycling Trust Fund to accept revenue to help stimulate local recycling centers;
Develop a recycling income tax checkoff;
Implement a new inspection program for out-of-state waste sorting facilities; and
Enact key landfill bans on newsprint, certain plastics and cardboard.
"Michigan is fortunate to have an abundance of natural resources," Richardville said. "They are one of the state's most valuable assets, and it is imperative to protect them. Encouraging state residents to recycle and reduce waste is one way to help make sure that we preserve the vast amount of resources Michigan is blessed to have."
Senate Bills 889-907 have been sent to the Senate Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee for consideration.
Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2007
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