From Washington to Massachusetts to Canada, garbage trucks have been bringing trash into the state of Michigan to fill landfills across the state. The data in this post shows where much of this trash comes from and what counties in the seven-county region take in the largest amount of municipal waste.
The above chart shows the overall volume, in cubic yards, of waste disposed of in Michigan since fiscal year 2004. The overall disposal of municipal solid waste decreased from 2004 (63,183,512) to 2013 (44,914,993) and with that decrease there has also been a decrease in the amount of imported trash. In 2004, 18.1 percent of all waste disposed of in Michigan was from Canada and 10.3 percent was from other states. In 2013, 17.1 percent was from Canada and 6.2 percent was from other states.
The map above further demonstrates that Canada is Michigan’s highest importer of trash. According to the DEQ, in 2012 Canada brought in 6,764,907 cubic yards of trash. In addition, Ohio, the second-highest exporter of trash to Michigan, sent 1,428,651 cubic yards to regional landfills.
When further breaking down the data, it can be seen that Wayne County, in 2012, generated and disposed of the most waste. However, it was Washtenaw County, followed by Macomb County to import the most waste. Located in Washtenaw County, Veolia ES Arbor Hills, which is now an Advanced Disposal Services landfill, had the second highest amount of waste (4,578,334 cubic yards) deposited in it. The Veolia landfill imported 1,657,156 cubic yards of Oakland County’s waste, and 1,864,878 cubic yards of Wayne County’s waste. In comparison, it imported less than 3,000 cubic yards of Canadian waste; and it disposed of 337,506 cubic yards of its own waste. Located in Macomb County, Pine Tree Acres landfill had the largest amount of waste by volume disposed of in it in 2012, with 4,818,600 cubic yards of municipal waste deposited, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Of the waste disposed there, Canada exported 3,466,060 cubic yards. This was more than the 917,962 cubic yards of waste Macomb County residents generated, and then disposed of, into their own landfill. According to the U.S. EPA, the average American generates about 4.43 pounds of waste a day, which totals about 1,617 pounds a year. That amount contributed to the 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage generated by the world in 2012. Of that amount of waste, 46 percent of it was made up of organic matter, according to the World Bank. To read more about where the world’s trash goes to and what its made of click here.