Call or email your State Senator and ask them to oppose House Bills 4265 and 4266.
For the last 17 years in Michigan, there has been a ban on dumping yard waste in landfills — a good thing, preserving space in landfills, and promoting the composting and recycling of yard clippings as soil amendments.
Two weeks ago, the House passed the above bills, which were sold under the slogan “Grass to Gas” — the idea being that methane from the yard clippings would be captured and used for renewable energy. In reality, the amount of methane produced would be negligible, and the real issue here is increasing tipping fees for landfill owners, never mind what happens when we run out of space.
In addition, this would essentially end the composting industry:
“It’s guaranteed bankruptcy. There’s no gray area. If this legislation passes, job losses will be immediate,” said Tom Turner, owner of Spurt Industries, a Zeeland-based composter with five locations in Michigan. “The legislature’s willingness to drive small businesses into bankruptcy will have a chilling effect on other businesses coming to Michigan.” — Testimony before the House Energy and Technology Committee
There is a local angle for me — I serve on the Kalamazoo Township Board, and we have been working with Spurt Industries at the Planning Commission level for a number of months on Zoning Amendments to allow them to put a new composting facility at a local brownfield site. This would blend yard clippings with sludge from the Kalamazoo Wastewater Treatment Plant to make soil amendments for home gardens. It would mean a number of new jobs in our township. But now all this is in jeopardy, because a few landfill operators want to fill up their landfills more quickly.
Our Township Board sent a letter to Sen. Schuitmaker about this issue, but I’m hoping that a number of others reading this will contact their Senators as well. This is a classic case of special interests pushing a ‘solution’ to a non-problem that takes us backward