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Re: Fwd: [GreenYes] Toronto declares Zero Waste
Sorry to burst this bubble of excitement, but many of you may not know of the real plans Toronto has for Zero Waste...that is Zero Waste deposited in Canada...its ALL being exported to my home state of Michigan  [see attached]

I've also forwarded this post to activists in our state who may be both encouraged and skeptical of what they read here....

Pete Pasterz, Manager
Office of Recycling and Waste Management
Michigan State University

Chair, College and University Recycling Council
Vice President, National Recycling Coalition

"UNLESS someone like YOU cares a whole awful lot,
 nothing is going to get better.   It's not." -- The Lorax

>>> 01/31/01 11:35AM >>>
Apologies for Cross-Postings

From: Jed Goldberg <>

Toronto (the largest city in Canada) has now formally come out and declared 
itself Zero Waste by 2010!!!   Many different political influences dictate 
the move which runs counter to last fall's failed attempt to ship Toronto 
garbage to an abandoned mine in Northern Ontario.  Time will tell as to 
what programs and actions will be taken to move Toronto into that 
direction.  Target Zero Canada will keep you abreast of all developments in 
Toronto and Canada.

City of Toronto
Task Force 2010 seeks made-in-Toronto solutions for waste
TORONTO, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - Vowing to find ways to take care of our own
waste, Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman today announced Task Force 2010 to  

Enviro-Mich message from "Dave Dempsey" <>

The Engler Administration has today released a worthless task force report
on the importation of trash from out of state.

It says nothing that was not known 18 months ago, when Engler created the
task force.  However, the task force did accomplish one thing:  it cost the
state crucial time as Toronto decided to double its exports of garbage to

It is interesting that while Engler has time to fly to sunny Florida to
launch vicious attacks against the Gore/Lieberman ticket, he has so far
failed to book himself on a flight to chilly Toronto to tell its officials
that we don't want that community's waste.

It takes no task force, no Constitutional amendment, and no action of
Congress to demonstrate a commitment to the environment.

December 1, 2000

Contact:     Ken Silfven (517) 241-7397
                   Seth Phillips (517) 373-4750

The Michigan Solid Waste Importation Task Force created by Governor John
Engler issued its final report today.

The task force, established by Executive Order 1999-3, was directed to
complete and submit a report to the governor and Department of Environmental
Quality Director Russell Harding by Dec. 1.

Its charge was to identify trends, causes and consequences of the
importation of solid waste; meet with members of Congress to encourage the
passage of federal legislation allowing Michigan to control the importation
of solid waste; and provide recommendations to the governor and DEQ director
concerning the control of interstate and international waste imports.

"Michigan remains concerned about the inability of states to control the
amount of waste entering their borders," Harding said. "The task force’s
conclusion that congressional action is key to addressing this problem is
compatible with Michigan’s approach. We will continue being at the forefront
of this national dialogue and working with other states to encourage federal
legislation. I thank all task force members for lending their time and
expertise to this cause."

The task force met in five public meetings this year to examine data and
evaluate the causes and impacts of solid waste imports to Michigan. Its
conclusions and recommendations, discussed in greater detail in the report,

Current levels of solid waste imports are manageable without immediate
impacts on disposal capacity for Michigan residents.
Solid waste imports show a continuing trend to increase. Current events
suggest a potential for significant increases in waste imports to Michigan
and other importing states. If such increases occur, significant negative
impacts on Michigan’s disposal capacity may result.
Significant increases in waste imports will undermine local efforts to
maintain and expand waste reduction and recycling efforts.
State legislative options to control imports from out of state are limited.
State legislation that will actually limit waste imports likely will not
withstand a constitutional challenge. Legislative approaches that will
withstand a constitutional challenge most likely will not be effective in
limiting imports.
Federal legislation to grant states reasonable authority to control waste
imports is necessary.
Federal legislation should balance the needs of communities to effectively
plan for integrated waste management programs for their long-term needs and
the needs of the disposal industry to operate effectively.
It is unlikely that the 106th Congress will consider legislation to address
this issue before the end of 2000.
The task force should develop a strategy to work with Michigan’s
congressional delegation and the task force members’ respective national
organizations to urge enactment of legislation by the next Congress to
address this issue. Michigan should continue its efforts to coordinate with
other states to develop and promote the enactment of needed legislation.
Copies of the task force report are available by contacting the DEQ’s Waste
Management Division at (517) 373-2730 or by E-mail at
The report also will soon be placed on the DEQ Internet web site under the
Waste Management Division at

Serving on the task force were representatives of the environmental
community, Legislature, local government and business community.


ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

Postings to:      For info, send email to  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"

The State of Michigan Could be Doing More to Limit Out-of State Garbage

The MDEQ’s recent press release arguing the state is powerless to stop out-of-state garbage is blatantly false.  Below are actions the Engler administration and Russ Harding could have taken to make Michigan less attractive to out-of-state waste.

1) Tell Toronto to reduce waste before shipping it out of state

The Engler Administration relies on legal arguments to say it can’t stop out-of-state waste. But waste exports are a policy issue, not just a legal issue. A strong, unequivocal statement from the Governor and other officials that Toronto should consider other options before shipping waste here would signal the city and other potential waste exporters that Michigan is not a dumping ground.

Instead, DEQ and the Governor have written ineffective letters and supported unsuccessful federal legislation and made no public statements discouraging trash imports.  Meanwhile, the current DEQ Director opened the floodgates for Toronto by permitting expanded capacity at a landfill over county objections.

In 1991 Wayne County drew up a waste plan siting four landfills.  One of those was Carleton Farms in Sumpter Township.  City Management (then owners of the facility), were originally allowed a maximum capacity of 22 million cubic yards (which was to last 20 years and provide capacity for the county’s waste needs).  However, the company quickly changed its mind and came back to the Department of Natural Resources claiming the capacity plus an additional 15 million cubic yards would be filled in 5 years and suggesting they needed to expand to 156 million cubic yards.  They also claimed they could do so without going through another siting process.  But the county had an excess of landfill capacity of 35.8 percent.  The county staff opposed the expansion, and fought the bypassing of the siting process.

DNR staff supported the county's contention that an expansion was unnecessary.   However, the staff, ordered by then deputy director Russ Harding, did a 180-degree reversal and, allying with City Management, determined that the company had the right to expand without going through any siting process.  Harding also announced suddenly that landfill expansions up to maximum capacity “are consistent with the Wayne County Solid Waste Management Plan.” This action not only usurped county authority but put the state in opposition to its own solid waste policy by creating virtually unlimited cheap landfill space which will surely attract waste from all over and deter recycling and recovery programs.  The City of Toronto has conditionally agreed to ship 500,000 tons of waste to Carlton Farms each year for the next 20 years. County Executive Ed McNamara said, “If the DNR amends our plan to increase disposal capacity, it will be the first time in the history of the state it has amended a county plan which is in compliance with Act 641, for the sole purpose of satisfying the desires of a particular interested party (City Management).”

2) Ban waste that doesn’t meet Michigan standards

In its 1992 decision striking down a Michigan waste law that it said unconstitutionally limited interstate waste shipments, the U.S. Supreme Court specifically identified an exception.  It stated:

“Of course, our conclusion would be different if the imported waste raised health concerns not presented by Michigan waste.”

Michigan laws bans from landfill disposal items such as batteries and used oil that can leak from landfills or increase toxic emissions from solid waste incinerators.  Legislation has been proposed for many years (SB 89 this term) that would ban garbage from any state or province that didn’t meet Michigan health standards.   The Engler Administration opposes this legislation.

MEC believes that if the legislation is passed and rigorously enforced, the amount of trash flowing into Michigan could be reduced. And waste that entered Michigan would pose less of a health threat to Michigan residents.

3) Transfer risk of future contamination back to landfill operators instead of Michigan taxpayers

In 1996, the Engler Administration pushed through legislation on behalf of landfill lobbyists that sharply reduced the amount of money landfill owners are required to put in perpetual care trust funds.  Before 1996, a landfill owner was required to put 75 cents for each ton of garbage into the perpetual care trust fund.  After closure of a landfill, the trust fund would have been used to pay for any clean up required for the next 30 years.  At the end of 30 years the state would have received half of the remaining funds to pay for any problems that occur after that time.

The 1996 change limited the amount of money in the trust funds to $1.1 million – a drop in the bucket when it comes to the very expensive cleanups that can be required by a leaking landfill.  This windfall for landfill operators will result in a loss for Michigan taxpayers of as much as $300 million over the next thirty years.  By shifting the risk of expensive cleanups from landfill owners to the taxpayers, the state has made it cheaper and more attractive to bring trash to Michigan. The Administration should reverse this change.

4) Deny a permit to create a hazardous waste injection well in Romulus

Pending before the department is a permit for the first commercial deep well injection facility for hazardous waste, expected to attract waste from Ontario as well as numerous states in the region.  A state-appointed Site Review Board has already recommended that the department deny the permit.  Before the Engler Administration’s creation of the DEQ, that decision would have been final.  Now the final decision will be made by DEQ Director Russ Harding, who has decided to wait until after the election to make this decision.   Whose side will he be on?
Although current law does not allow us to go as far as we would like to go, it does allow the state to take steps to discourage the importation of waste.  Instead of taking those steps, the Engler administration has decided to take steps in the direction of encouraging others to bring waste to Michigan.    Enough lip service – the people of Michigan want action to limit out-of-state trash.

Prepared by:

James Clift, Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste. 2a
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539

Enviro-Mich message from Mary Beth Doyle <>

In an unexpected move, Toronto has recently decided not to send their waste
to an abadoned mine in Northern Ontario.  Instead, Toronto plans to sign a
5 year contract to send ALL of the city's 1.5 million tons of garbage to
two landfills in SE Michigan.  An article in yesterday's Toronto Star
actually claims that Michigan welcomes this garbage. And that's garbage!

What about the 5000 letters sent to Toronto, opposing the sending of waste
to Michigan? And doesn't the Toronto Star know about the hundreds of angry
phone calls to Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman last summer? Don't they know that
Elvis came out of retirement in July to record a special version of Return
to Sender to make sure Toronto heard our concerns?  (go to to download the Toronto Trash song.)

I have included a few sentences of the article below, and you can see the
whole article at:

From that webpage, you can also connect with a discussion page devoted to
the Toronto trash issue. Let the Toronto Star know we are not welcome
hosts.  Better yet, call Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman at 416-395-6464 and tell
him Toronto should take care of their waste by recycling at home. The
Toronto City Council has been stalling on implementing a waste management
plan proposed by environmentalists and labor groups that would triple the
amount of waste being diverted from the waste stream through recycling and
composting. Tell Mayor Lastman to start recycling, because they don't want
Toronto's trash in Northern Ontario and we don't want it here!

"Michigan a welcoming host for Toronto's transient trash"

By Karen Palmer
Toronto Star City Hall Bureau

  DETROIT - Just minutes from the I-275 southwest of here, near Flat Rock,
Mich., a grassy hill containing seven years' worth of mounded garbage
towers over tiny Sumpter Township, the soon-to-be host of Toronto's trash.

There are no anti-Toronto signs in the rural community, no protests and no
outrage at cross-border trash. In fact, the people who live around the
140-hectare landfill known as Carleton Farms also work there. A scalehouse
worker and a sales rep from the hauling division live next door, and the
white house just north of the active dumping site is home to one of the
loader drivers.

Mary Beth Doyle, MPH
Environmental Health Project
Ecology Center
117 N. Division
Ann Arbor MI 48104

734-663-2400 ext 108
734-663-2414 (fax)

ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

Postings to:      For info, send email to  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"

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