Over 22 percent of trash that ended in Michigan landfills in 2019 was imported.

That's a lot of trash, but the volume of imported waste from other states and Canada decreased by about 1 percent from 2018. Over the same time, waste from Michigan residents and businesses increased by over 8 percent.

Michigan has 66 landfills which took in a total of 55,704,644 cubic yards of waste in 2019.

Michigan 2019 landfill report.
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy

Here's 2019's totals by weight:

  • Total waste to Michigan landfills: 18,568,210 tons
  • Waste from Michigan: 14,441,500 tons
  • Waste from Canada: 3,178,054 tons
  • Waste from other states: 948,659 tons

The out-of-state totals could be even higher. The report says, "Some facilities may have reported data from an unknown origin. All unknown waste is reported as in-state waste, however, it is expected that some of the unassigned waste is from out-of-state sources."

Waste came to Michigan from 12 states with two-thirds of it coming from Ohio. Here's a look at state-by-state totals in cubic yards from 2019:

  • Connecticut: 125,747
  • Illinois: 225
  • Indiana: 565,004
  • Kentucky: 6
  • Missouri: 12
  • New Jersey: 6,119
  • Ohio: 1,899,397
  • Oregon: 3
  • Tennessee: 100
  • West Virginia: 20
  • Wisconsin: 249,333

The waste that makes its way to landfills comes from a variety of sources. The report breaks down what kinds of waste are coming from different places:

  • Over 90 percent of the waste that comes in from Canada is municipal waste.
  • All of the waste from Connecticut was industrial waste.
  • Michigan imported 583,430 cubic yards of waste from auto shredders while producing 535,105 cubic yards in Michigan.

The volume and sources of waste have been pretty consistent over the last ten years, but a look further back shows significant changes over time. The percentage and volume of imported waste from Canada used to be smaller and we used to get more waste from other states.

Older data shows how Michigan's volume and sources of trash have changed over time.
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy

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