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A Better Partnership


Jun 2014
June 12, 2014

Michigan Legislature Approves Beneficial Use of High-Volume Wastes and By-Products

On June 10, the Michigan Legislature passed three bills--House Bills 5400, 5401, and 5402--to promote the recycling and use of certain high-volume low-toxicity industrial by-products by authorizing the “beneficial use” of those by-products in approved circumstances. Industrial by-products in the proposed legislation include coal and wood ash, foundry sand, cement kiln dust, stamp sands, pulp and paper mill material, and other similar by-products. The bills expressly authorize five uses, and match appropriate materials to those uses:
  • Beneficial Use 1: by-products used as aggregate, road material, or building material when bonded or encapsulated by cement, limes, or asphalt.
  • Beneficial Use 2: by-products used as construction fill at non-residential property or beneath or along roadways.
  • Beneficial Use 3: by-products used as soil amendments or that are land applied for agronomic purposes.
  • Beneficial Use 4: by-products used to treat waste or wastewater or that serve other remedial purposes.
  • Beneficial Use 5: by-products blended with other materials to manufacture soil.
Companies can also petition the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to have other materials and uses approved. 
The bills put in place several precautions to protect the environment. Materials must meet certain toxicity standards, must be properly stored, and transported and reports to the MDEQ are required.  When all requirements are met, the proposed legislation exempts the user from liability under Part 201. 
In addition to defining a new category of “beneficial use by-products,” the legislation also clarifies existing categories of materials that are exempt from the definition of solid waste, including “inert,” “low hazard industrial,” and “source separated” materials.
The bills are now awaiting Governor Rick Snyder’s signature, which is expected within the next two weeks. Warner played an instrumental role working with stakeholders and drafting the legislation.
If you have questions about this legislation or Michigan’s waste or recycling laws in general, please contact Dan DeWitt ( or 616-752-2208) or Troy Cumings ( or 517-679-7411).

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