Michigan environment roundup: Recyclers scramble as China halts plastic, paper imports

Bridge Magazine is committed to sharing the best environmental journalism in and around Michigan, an effort called #EnviroReads.

In Bridge’s Michigan Environment Watch, we share a roundup of recent stories on the Great Lakes or other issues. If you see a story we should include next time, use the hashtag #EnviroReads on Twitter or email Environmental Reporter Jim Malewitz at jmalewitz@bridgemi.com.

China doesn’t want most of our plastics or junk mail anymore… so now what?

Michigan Radio

“The global market for recycling has changed dramatically over the last year, and it’s already trickling down to what happens at the curb,” Rebecca Williams reports. “China used to take all sorts of foreign recycling because it was using the materials to build its economy. But at the beginning of this year, China stopped importing most plastic waste and mixed paper, like junk mail.”

Michigan will test blood in Wolverine PFAS study area


“State and local public health officials say they will begin testing the blood of Rockford and Belmont residents exposed to PFAS in their drinking water after a long-awaited review of cancer incidences in the area returned inconclusive results,” Garret Ellison reports. “Blood draws and other information collection related to PFAS exposure in the areas where shoemaker Wolverine World Wide dumped PFAS-laden tannery waste into unlined landfills and gravel pits will begin this fall, according to health officials.”

Scientists investigating 'unprecedented' algae bloom in Lake Superior

Minnesota Public Radio

“The water of Lake Superior along the rocky shoreline of northwestern Wisconsin's Apostle Islands is normally cold, clear and pristine,” Dan Kraker reports. “But late last week, kayakers and other visitors to the popular lakeshore found a scummy algae on Superior's surface. While the bloom has largely dissipated, reports suggest it stretched in patches across a distance of about 50 miles along the shoreline from near Superior, Wis., to the Apostle Islands.”

Small amount of radioactive spent nuclear fuel to go through Michigan

Detroit Free Press

“A small amount of the most highly radioactive waste on the planet, spent nuclear fuel, is planned for a secretive, highly protected shipment from an Illinois nuclear power plant through Michigan and Port Huron, on its way to Canada,” Keith Matheny reports. “The plan, made public in filings last month with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has raised concerns with environmental groups and others.”


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Mary Comar
Fri, 08/24/2018 - 10:17pm

Why? What will Canada do with it?
Do local Michigan township/ county/ city ordinances on this route allow the transport of high level nuclear waste through their territory? Are emergency accidental release containment services going to be on duty along the route in the event of an accident. Is it legal? Who gave permission for the transport? Can a "Stay" be enacted? There is a reason nuclear waste is stored on site.