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Prohibited Materials. Michigan state laws and Federal laws prohibit certain materials from being delivered to/disposed of in municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. 

In Michigan Act 34, which is an amendment to Michigan's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451 Part 115 covers prohibited materials.  This law prohibits a person from delivering to a landfill for disposal, and a landfill owner or operator, from permitting the disposal in a landfill, of any of the following:

  • Medical waste, unless that medical waste has been decontaminated or is not required to be decontaminated but is packaged in the manner required under the Medical Waste Regulatory Act (MWRA) of the Public Health Code.  It is important to note that medical-related wastes from households, farms, homes for the aged, or home healthcare agencies are excluded from the definition of medical waste under MWRA. (More information on Michigan's medical waste program.)
  • More than a de minimis amount of open, empty, or otherwise used beverage containers as defined in the Initiated Law of 1976, as amended (Deposit Law).
  • More than a de minimis number of whole motor vehicle tires.
  • Used oil as defined in Section 16701 of Part 167, Used Oil Recycling, of NREPA.
  • A lead acid battery as defined in Section 17101 of Part 171, Battery Disposal, of NREPA.
  • Low-level radioactive waste as defined in Section 2 of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Authority Act, 1987 PA 204, as amended, MCL 333.26202. (More information on low-level radioactive wastes.)
  • Hazardous waste that is required to be disposed of in a hazardous waste treatment, storage, or disposal facility under Part 111, Hazardous Waste Material, of NREPA. (Note that household hazardous waste is excluded.)
  • More than a de minimis amount of yard clippings, unless they are diseased or infested.
  • Liquid waste as prohibited by section 324.11514 of NREPA.
  • Sewage.
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) as defined in federal regulations (see EPA's Polychlorinated Biphenyls web page).
  • Asbestos waste unless the landfill complies with federal regulations (see EPA's Asbestos web page).

NREPA requires DEQ to post on its website a list of materials prohibited from disposal in a landfill and appropriate disposal options for those materials.

Federal law also prohibits the disposal of hazardous waste in MSW landfills.  However, as with the state law, domestically generated household waste is excluded from the federal and state definitions of hazardous waste if:

  • the waste is generated by individuals on the premises of a temporary or permanent residence for individuals; and
  • the wastestream is composed primarily of materials found in the wastes generated by consumers in their homes. 

Because imported waste is subject to the applicable domestic laws and regulations of the U.S. once it enters U.S. jurisdiction, imported household waste is excluded from the definition of hazardous waste in the same way as domestically generated household waste.

Medical waste is primarily regulated by state law in the United States, although the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates the transportation of medical waste.  However, as with the Michigan state regulations, household medical waste is exempt from the DOT standards (see 49 CFR 173.134(a)(10)).

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are on the lookout for prohibited materials in municipal solid waste vehicles.  In addition to close inspections at the border crossing, a representative number of the municipal solid waste trucks are inspected at the landfills.  CBP officers escort the trucks to the landfill and inspect the contents when it's unloaded.  The most common problem materials are hazardous, radioactive and medical wastes.  In 2003, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported 81 penalties issued in Port Huron and 11 penalties issued in Detroit against municipal solid waste carriers for transporting medical waste material that was not properly manifested.  Incidents involving hazardous and radioactive wastes have also been reported.  Municipal solid waste trucks carrying these materials are refused entry into the United States and are returned to Canada.  If you plan on hauling restricted materials such as hazardous or medical wastes, you must obtain special permits and follow environmental agency and department of transportation rules that are much more demanding than those applicable to municipal solid waste.  More information.

Cargo Securement.  Cargo must be contained, immobilized or secured to prevent shifting upon the vehicle to the extent that the vehicle's stability or maneuverability is not adversely affected.  Each commercial motor vehicle (CMV) transporting cargo must be loaded and equipped to prevent the cargo from leaking, spilling, blowing off or falling from the motor vehicle.  Spills of hazardous waste must be reportedMore information.

Vehicle and Load Size.  It is vital that carriers and drivers understand the size requirements (height, width, length and weight) for commercial motor vehicles operating on Michigan highways.  State roadways have use restrictions placed on them by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for use by commercial motor vehicles. Restrictions are based on vehicle size and the time of year.  More information.

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