Democrats in Michigan are moving to increase fees on garbage tipped in the state’s landfills. The idea is seen as the latest attempt by representatives there to reduce the importation of garbage, especially from Canada, or at least garner more cash from imported waste. Critics fear that higher fees will simply drive away business and much needed revenue.
Michigan currently charges the City of Toronto US 21 cents per ton for garbage deposited in landfills. This would rise dramatically to US $7.50 per ton under the plan, which was crafted by the minority Democrats in the Michigan House of Representatives.
One politician was quoted saying that Pennsylvania leads the nation in importing out-of-state garbage and has already imposed a charge of $7.25 per ton and this decreased waste shipments by 1.5 million tons. Some Michigan politicians want to achieve the same thing, and thereby extend the life of Michigan landfills.
Constitutionally, Michigan can’t impose the surcharge on out-of-state waste without also imposing it on local sources. That could lead to the bill being very unpopular locally. The idea will likely face legal opposition from local waste management organizations and might not pass in the Republican-controlled state house and senate.
Toronto pays Republic $52 (Canadian) a tonne to take its one million tonnes of garbage to Michigan. Toronto officials don’t think any such fee will impact the city, saying that a contract with Republic Services Inc. suggests the company, not the city, would pay for the higher cost.
Republic Services spokesperson Bob Webb says he would have to review the contract before commenting.