We continually strive to reduce our waste. You’ll find recycling bins throughout our facilities to keep paper, cardboard, plastic, and other recyclables out of the trash. Our Jackson corporate facilities also feature composting centers for organic materials, and we use compostable serving dishes and utensils in our on-site cafeterias.
We keep tabs on our waste reduction efforts. This includes site visits to our facilities to evaluate the wastes generated and the effectiveness of trash and recycling containers. Our Green Team members are a large part of our waste reduction success. They’re spread throughout our service area and are committed to environmental sustainability in and out of the workplace.
Our efforts extend beyond our facilities. We recycle items like rubber protective equipment including gloves and sleeves worn by our line workers. Our rubber recycling efforts can potentially provide material that can be used as primary ingredients for playground surfaces.
In the field, our waste reduction efforts include conserving and recycling soil on projects that require clearing and digging. We also fight phragmites, an invasive species that threatens the health of Michigan’s wetlands, by using innovative land-management tactics to keep the harmful grass out of landfills.
All our efforts are measured through tracking the waste and landfill avoidance data which is used to generate meaningful goals. We focus on waste reduction as the combined efforts of reducing waste, improving reuse, and increasing recycling. In 2022, the Company set and surpassed a goal to increase the diversion rate (percentage of the total amount of waste recycled). We achieved a 93% diversion rate, surpassing the target of 90% from the 2021 baseline of 88%. When we achieve our waste reduction goals, we set new targets to continue along our path to less waste.
Eliminating Coal Combustion Residuals
Our Clean Energy Plan, which calls for retiring our remaining coal plants through 2025, is an industry-leading initiative that will eliminate the production of coal combustion residuals (CCRs) like fly ash and bottom ash, which are produced during the energy generation process. CCR units that remain will be regulated by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) for at least 30-years during the post-closure care period that includes groundwater monitoring, vegetation maintenance and other compliance requirements.
In addition to state regulations, CCRs are regulated by the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. In compliance with this law, we provide data related to the operation and maintenance of our CCR units on Consumers Energy’s website: CCR Rule Compliance.
Read our latest Waste and Landfill Avoidance report for more information on our efforts.