Consumers Energy has refocused our minimization efforts to include a much broader landfill avoidance strategy which includes waste reduction, reuse, redeployment and recycling. In 2014, we established a Sustainability Breakthrough Landfill Avoidance Goal of 1 million cubic yards of landfill avoidance through 2019 by increasing our cumulative amount of landfill avoided material by 10 percent every year for the next five years. In support of this goal we have established seven “Green Teams” comprised of a representative group of 70 employees across the Company to: set goals, champion local programs, conduct waste assessments, and initiate innovative ideas.
The 704,800 cubic yards of landfill space avoided to date equates to an average of about 30,000 cubic yards a year. To achieve our goal we need to avoid an average of double that amount, about 60,000 cubic yards per year, over the next five years.
1 million cubic yards of trash would be the equivalent of five football fields stacked from goal line to goal line 100 ft. deep.
We recycle more than 20 major waste streams annually. We've placed special collection bins at our corporate offices, service centers and plants, as part of a comprehensive recycling and waste minimization program.
In 2015 Consumers Energy was recognized at the Governor’s Recycling Summit for achieving a 36 percent recycling ratio in 2013 which is well above the State of Michigan’s current recycling ratio of 15 percent. Our most recent recycling ratio for 2014 is 41 percent.
Our waste landfill avoidance efforts are in concert with the State of Michigan’s (Governor Snyder) recycling initiatives. The Company’s Recycle Ratio has averaged 33.8 percent over the past four years which is more than the state’s targeted recycling ratio of 30 percent.
Below are our cumulative recycling totals.
Landfill Avoidance and Recycling Activity Totals
Recycled Commodities Totals 1992-2014
537,547 gallons - Antifreeze
6,164,640 gallons - Used Oil
268,922 gallons - Fuel
16,738 gallons - Paint
644,777 pounds – Batteries
633,923 pounds – Lamps
112,566 pounds - Lighting Ballasts
26,969 pounds - Mercury Equipment
66,575 tons - Metals
146,657 yards - Paper
68,300 yards - Cardboard
12,183 tons - Single Stream Recycling
195,467 pounds - Electronics
All units - Toner Cartridges
259,726 tons - Wood/Wood Products
775 yards – LEED Buildings
4,985 tons - Electrical Equipment
800 yards – IRC Redeployment
Soil Reuse – 965 yards
704,800 Cubic Yards of Municipal Landfill Space Saved
In addition to the recycled commodities listed above, we have historically recycled between 40-50% of our ash. This effort has resulted in significant industrial landfill space avoided.
4,175,850 Cubic Yards of Industrial Landfill Space
Saved Through Ash Recycling Programs
We also buy reusable, recycled and other environmentally friendly products as part of our purchasing and supply chain efforts. This includes recycled content paper products, cardboard products, tires, low-mercury fluorescent lamps and other items.
We continue to stress the importance of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle principles and practices as part of our environmental commitment and in support of our Company guiding principle to leave it better than we found it.
We are committed to minimizing waste by recycling paper, cardboard, wood, used oil, antifreeze, universal waste, scrap metal and most other recyclable commodities. We strive to minimize our waste generation by using best management practices and the best method of treatment, storage and disposal currently available which minimizes the present and future threat to human health and the environment.
Our program has been in effect for more than 25 years. The program consists of education, workshops, training and rewards. As well as collecting, tracking, sharing and publishing records.
Consumers Energy is a member of the Michigan ByProduct Synergy group started in Lansing, Michigan. The purpose of this organization is to introduce large businesses to each other in the hopes that through networking we can find uses for different industry byproducts and discuss solutions for byproducts and waste reduction in Michigan.
We have also been members and participants of the Michigan Recycling Coalition for many years. The purpose of the group is to foster effective resource use and recovery in Michigan. Consumers Energy has participated by sponsoring, presenting, providing guidance and attending annual events. The group works toward the common goals of waste reduction, recycling, reuse, composting and recycled-content purchasing by developing, supporting and educating a coalition of business, government, non-profit and individual members.
Accomplishments and Recognition
Our recycling programs have been recognized by industry peers and regulators for our waste minimization accomplishments and achievements.
- We received recognition for achieving a greater than 30 percent recycling ratio at the Governor's Summit.
- Our Whiting and Parnall sites have consistently participated in Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (M-DEQ) programs, Michigan Business Pollution Prevention Partners (MBP3) and Clean Neighborhood Environmental Partner, every year since 2005.
- We received the Jackson Waste Watchers Award that recognizes efforts of local companies that actively pursue reducing waste and improving recycling.
- We received an achievement award from the U.S. EPA for a voluntary mercury reduction program which has resulted in a reduction of almost 80 percent of our total mercury inventory.
Updated June 2015