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EGLE focusing on sustainable building concept: domicology


Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy wants communities to begin working on creating new buildings with recyclable materials, and deconstructing old ones with an eye for reuse

Rhonda Oyer talks trash every day.

“I hope I talk to you about trash in a different way and make you think about the sustainable materials management continuum and if there’s a better way you can use your materials.”

As the manager of the Solid Waste Section of Michigan’s Materials Management Division, Oyer is part of the shift in her department from landfill disposal to materials management after a revamping of the statutes in 2023.

“Reduce reuse, recycle, repurpose and reclaim whatever we can and then at the very end whatever little bit is left than that’s what goes to the landfill.”

And her focus is largely buildings – getting people to think about creating new ones with recyclable materials, and deconstructing old ones with an eye for reuse. She encourages communities to begin working on the concept.

“Put together an ordinance that if a building is going to be demolished, it first by looked at for refurbishment or deconstruction so those materials would be available to be repurposed.”

Thinking about domicology in this way is a new concept for many commercial builders and city planners.

“It’s time to get this concept out there so people start thinking of these things up front.”

For more on domicology, Oyer suggests people visit the new exhibition at the Michigan State University’s Sandbox Gallery in East Lansing. I’m Dee Morrison.

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