Three Steps to Help you Launch Your MMP!

Our clients have been feeling overwhelmed by the influx of information regarding the Materials Management Planning process in Michigan. To alleviate this, we’re simplifying the initial step, the Notice of Intent, to facilitate a step-by-step approach. In this blog, we’ll offer essential background information for both you and your county officials, followed by a breakdown of three crucial steps to complete before submitting your Notice of Intent for Michigan Materials Management planning. Our aim is to contribute our expertise through this MMP blog series and support Michigan’s promising future.

Understanding Materials Management Planning (MMP) 

Now is the time to seize the moment. Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has initiated the call for every county in Michigan to begin creating materials management plans. Participating counties will receive State funding to support planning and public initiatives aiming to reduce waste, compost materials, and recycle or reuse products.  

Let’s Talk About the Notice of Intent  

The MMP Notice of Intent (NOI) is how your county formally tells EGLE that you are accepting the responsibility to create a materials management plan that addresses the variety of waste materials generated in your county. The notice is also your commitment to work with a group of invested community members to recover valuable materials and reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills. The NOI and accompanying documentation are due to EGLE by July 6, so we’re here to help walk you through the steps!

To make things simpler for counties, the NOI form is hosted on the platform SurveyMonkey, a web-based tool. While the form is straightforward, the NOI represents your county’s chance to take responsibility and leadership for the vision, creation, and implementation of a Materials Management Plan. This plan will serve your residents and businesses for years to come.

What it Means to be a County Approval Agency (CAA) 

Understanding what it means to take on the role of County Approval Agency (CAA), is important to consider before accepting it. If you want the county and local community to have control in determining what priorities the plan will feature, it’s an important role to accept. Accepting the role of County Approval Agency is an important first decision in writing your county’s Materials Management Plan (MMP) and plays an important role in your county’s broader economic and sustainability story.

The CAA is a term and title added to the revised Part 115 legislation, called Materials Management Planning. In the late 1990s, you may recall this legislation was formerly called Solid Waste Management Planning (SWMP). The previous SWMP process was focused on ensuring sufficient disposal capacity in landfills or waste-to-energy facilities in each county or in other counties in the state to meet the needs of your county.

Revisions to Part 115 were passed in December 2022 and became law in March 2023. The changes included the addition of the role of County Approval Agency and a focus on materials recovery. Part 115 was activated in January 2024 when the EGLE Director, Phillip Roos, initiated the planning process.

  • Completing the NOI is accepting your role as the CAA and accepting the following responsibilities:
  • Be the primary responsible party
  • Be responsible for MMP implementation
  • Appoint a Designated Planning Agency (DPA)
  • Oversee the creation and implementation of the DPA’s work program
  • Utilize the MMP Grant funds for MMP development and implementation
  • Approve the MMP prior to municipal approval
  • Approve MMP modifications, if needed
  • Certify to EGLE progress toward meeting all components of its materials management goals

Three Steps for Successful NOI Completion 

There are three steps to follow to complete the Notice of Intent: 

  1. Pass a formal resolution accepting the role of CAA 
  2. Document planning discussions with surrounding counties 
  3. Submit your Notice of Intent form 

Step One: Accept the Role of CAA Through a Resolution

The first step in this process is for a county Board of Commissioners (BOC) to decide if this is a responsibility they want to accept. The main benefits of being the CAA are maintaining authority of planning and approval processes and accepting State funding to support the work. The BOC will need to accept this responsibility through a formal resolution. Here is an example resolution from one of your peers, Montmorency County CAA Resolution.

We know it can take time to get items on the official meeting agenda, so if you haven’t done this, it’s time to act now. If your BOC accepts CAA responsibility, it means that they need to start thinking about someone inside the county government or a partner agency to lead the planning efforts as the Designated Planning Agency (DPA) while the county remains the approving authority for the plan. Internal departments that would be well suited for this task include Departments of Public Work, Health Departments, Planning Departments, or other departments engaged in long-term or sustainable planning initiatives. External partner agencies or organizations can also be named DPAs, including conservation districts or regional planning agencies. By naming DPAs with experience in state required planning activities, these entities can do the heavy lifting of developing the plan while the county maintains the authority to approve and direct the planning activities.

Becoming the CAA also means accepting State funds to complete and implement your county’s Materials Management Plan. Part 115 specifies funding for the MMP effort be directed to counties from EGLE. Each county accepting CAA will receive $60,000 per year, plus additional per capita funding in the first three years.

If a county BOC defers the responsibility, it loses the funding and it must be offered to the regional planning agency and the municipalities in the county (acting together). If none of these entities decide to accept the responsibility and the associated funding for Materials Management Planning, then the state will write the county plan. This means that your county would not have as much control of the planning activities to implement materials management practices your community would benefit from, and you lose out on the State money that would benefit your community.

Step Two: Document Planning Discussions

For step two, you will need to communicate with all the counties that surround yours about the possibility of a joint planning process. This step is simply showing that you talked to your adjoining counties about planning and decided either to plan together or not to plan together – that’s it! Neither the law nor EGLE has given specific list of items that must be talked about, just that adjacent counties need to talk about planning.

The type of communication needed to submit for documentation depends on the county size. For large counties with a population over 250,000, you need to submit a formal request to indicate interest in preparing a multicounty MMP within 30 days to all adjacent county boards of commissioners. For counties under 250,000, there’s no formal documentation specified by EGLE so we’ve drafted a county documentation template form for you to complete when you email or call your adjacent county counterpart.

If you haven’t started this, here are some tips to get you going. First, coordinate a call or send an email to the County Administrator or Board Chair of each adjacent county. Alternatively, there may be an existing meeting of the board or administrator that could serve as a convenient mechanism to start the conversation.

The flow of materials through recycling, composting, or trash does not typically stop at political boundaries. Talking about planning processes across county lines can be beneficial to identify opportunities for efficient and financially sustainable systems, even if you decide not to formally plan together. Through the planning process, there will be opportunities to coordinate with other counties and determine where collaboration would be a good fit. If you decide to plan with another county, there’s another step you need to take, which we will walk through in our next blog.

Step Three: Submit the Notice of Intent Form

The final step is taking formal action to commit to the planning process by submitting the NOI form along with the documentation from steps 1 and 2. It’s important for the BOC to understand the Materials Management Planning process. They should also know that the Planning Committee will require one elected county official who can fill that role and provide regular updates to the BOC as the process unfolds.

This is all due to EGLE by July 6, so don’t delay! Complete the EGLE NOI form after completing and documenting the three steps.

 

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Michigan is our home. RRS is invested in seeing every county in Michigan reach their recycling and composting goals through the MMP process because we live here, too. We care about the future of Michigan. We know counties have been feeling overwhelmed by the influx of information regarding the Materials Management Planning process in Michigan. We're here to help. Our aim for this blog series is to contribute our expertise and support Michigan’s promising future. When we work together and stay informed, we can grow the circular economy, create jobs, and keep valuable materials in use.

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