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Facts and Figures

National Information

Michigan is not the only state that imports solid wastes. In fact, two states import more garbage than Michigan. These are Pennslyvania and Virginia.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), at the direction of Congress, looked into the whole issue of waste importation on a national basis. The resulting report, Interstate Shipment of Municipal Solid Waste: 2002 Update, is an excellent source of information on just how much solid waste is crossing state and national lines.

The following table, from the CRS Report, summarizes the extensive amount of wastes that are being imported by various states:

Imports of Municipal Solid Waste, 2001(in tons)

State Quantity Imported
Pennsylvania a 10,666,090
Virginia b 4,098,684
Michigan c,d 3,597,729
Ohio 1,988,753
Indiana e1,456,699
Illinois d1,440,804
Oregon f1,301,882
Wisconsin 1,106,928
Georgia g 964,285
New Jersey f 892,394
New York 839,700
New Mexico 750,000
Kentucky 701,442
Kansas 636,847
South Carolina h 579,299
Nevada 532,615
Iowa h505,598
Mississippi 466,399
Alabama f,i382,000
Tennessee 329,036
Arizona j260,000
New Hampshire 250,000
West Virginia 200,000
Missouri 178,032
Maine k164,527
Oklahoma 125,000
Nebraska 122,500
Washington f 116,365
North Dakota f 103,382
Connecticut h,l75,941
Massachusetts 67,247
Maryland m39,926
Texas n 34,173
Montana 33,964
California f28,672
North Carolina h21,614
Arkansas 12,718
Idaho 12,583
Utah o5,967
South Dakota 1,400

a In addition, Pennsylvania received 1,938,857 tons of other waste (industrial waste, construction/demolition [C&D] waste, ash, asbestos and sludge) from out of state at MSW landfills in 2001.
b Virginia also imported 720,782 tons of other waste, mostly sludge, incinerator ash, and C&D waste in 2001.
c 10/1/2000 - 9/30/2001.
d Converted from cubic yards using 3.3 cu. yds. = 1 ton.
e Indiana also imported 172,410 tons of non-municipal solid waste, primarily C&D and industrial waste in 2000.
f 2000.
g 7/1/2001 - 6/30/2002.
h 7/1/2000 - 6/30/2001.
i As reported by BioCycle magazine.
j 4/1/2001 - 3/31/2002.
k 1999.
l Connecticut import total does not include waste from New York that was received at a Connecticut transfer station and re-exported to other states for disposal.
m Maryland also imported 422,945 tons of C&D waste.
n 9/1/2000 - 8/31/2001.
o Utah landfills have generally imported more industrial than municipal solid waste.

Source: CRS, based on telephone interviews with and data provided by state program officials.

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Michigan Information

Within Michigan, the bordering (or near-bordering) counties appear to be the largest importers of garbage. The Waste Mangement Division of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) requires that Michigan landfills submit information reporting the sources of wastes that they receive. Early each year MDEQ issues a report documenting the amounts of solid wastes landfilled in Michigan from the previous year, including wastes from out-of-state sources. The DEQ annual reports from the year 1996 through the current year are available here. NOTE THAT YOU MUST HAVE THE ADOBE ACROBAT READER TO VIEW THESE DOCUMENTS.

The following information, taken from the 2001 DEQ report, shows which counties import wastes from out of state:

Imports of Municipal Solid Waste, 2001(in cubic yards)

County Quantity Imported
Berrien 4,299,018
Wayne 2,387,412
Washtenaw 1,616,887
Macomb 1,483,920
Monroe 1,134,062
Menominee 424,472
Genesee 200,511
Huron 181,629
Alger 43,620
Dickinson 32,066
St. Joseph 32,022
Lenawee 20,750
Ontonagon 15,166
Calhoun 865
Oakland 97

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