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The Complete Guide to Ann Arbor Recycling & Waste Disposal
Learn Where and How to Recycle in Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor is a city where green living is a way of life, rather than an optional extra. The entire city is provided with free curbside recycling services that ensure that basic recyclables, like paper and plastic, are properly recycled and reused. Drop off stations for bulky and non-recyclable wastes are also abundant throughout Ann Arbor, allowing all residents to unload their debris no matter where they are in town.
Have an item you wish to recycle? Just check out our directory to find the right place for your waste!
Cars are great for getting around, but not so great when you need to throw away parts, fluids, or even the car itself. Ann Arbor offers many places where you can take your old car batteries, fuel, and everything else.
Car batteries are best recycled, not landfilled. That’s why auto parts stores throughout the city provide battery recycling services. You can also find drop off locations provided by the local county and nonprofit organizations in select parts of the city.
Cars carry a lot of liquid weight, so when you’re looking to shed some of it you need to know where to go to dispose of all the fuel, motor oil, and lubricants that build up in the garage. Washtenaw County maintains a collection center for all sorts of household hazardous waste, including automotive fluids.
Tires are just as prevalent as chewing gum and both are particularly hard to recycle. But if you work with these local businesses you should be able to recycle, or at least responsibly dispose of, any tires you may have on your property or in your garage.
Rubble, debris, scrap, and everything else that has to be scooped out of a work site is generally bound for the landfill. But there are some construction materials that can be recycled if you know the right recycling company. We’ll show you how to find the right business for your recyclable construction debris.
As soon as the carpet beneath your feet becomes flat and matted, take it to your local Recycle Ann Arbor location. If your carpeting is new, you could also take it to Recycle Ann Arbor’s local Reuse Center where it will be recycled and reused.
Have a bit of a scrap metal problem? Does your backyard resemble a boneyard of crumpled cars and rusty sheet metal? Ann Arbor has more than enough recyclers and drop off locations available to handle your excess scrap metal.
Laying down a fresh layer of shingles? You can dispose of the old ones with an Ann Arbor dumpster rental. But if you have a bit of a green thumb you could also recycle your old shingles through Recycle Ann Arbor’s Recovery Yard:
Electronics are the fastest growing waste stream in the world. Fortunately, the city of Ann Arbor is on top of the rising tide of obsolete computers, cell phones, and televisions flowing into its transfer stations and recycling centers.
Cell phones are just small enough that you won’t notice the growing pile you have in the basement. According to industry statistics, the average phone user replaces theirs every 18 months, leaving a lot of tiny glass and metal squares in their wake. When it comes time to upgrade your current smartphone to an even smarter one, consider either recycling or donating your suddenly less smart phone through one of these local organizations.
Have a hard drive that’s about to spin itself into the digital grave? You can recycle or dispose of your old desktop, laptop, keyboards, mice, and even a tablet or two using these local recycling and waste collection centers.
CRTs, LCDs, and plasma screens, oh my! Its pretty easy to recycle a TV, regardless of how many acronyms are jammed in front of it. All you have to do is find the right recycler in your area that takes your type of TV. Check out these local recyclers and charities below to find out where you can take your old boob tube.
Is the old ice box on its last radiator coil? It might be time to put it out to pasture. Using local recycling companies will allow you to get rid of your old refrigerator cleanly and responsibly, keeping dangerous refrigerant chemicals, such as freon, out of the environment.
Paper & Plastic
The city of Ann Arbor receives curbside recycling services through Recycle Ann Arbor, a local organization that began the city’s first curbside collection service in 1977. 38 years later and Recycle Ann Arbor is still at it, providing all residents with single-stream recycling services right at the curb, for free! Through their service, you can recycle paper, plastic, aluminum cans, glass bottles, juice boxes, and more. All you have to do is fill up your blue bin and leave it out for the weekly collection.
Seasonal compost collection is also available for yard waste, food scraps, and more beginning in April and continuing through December of every year. Compost materials can be placed in yard bags or a separate compost bin available for purchase at City Hall.
Within every home there is a cramped corner that is literally stuffed with boxes, the contents of which have been forgotten for years, even decades. Though it isn't hard to take a guess at what they contain: clothing, old paint cans, toys, newspapers, magazines, maybe even some old Billy Beer cans leftover from Carter’s first go at the presidency.
Have some old clothes you’d like to donate? Or perhaps they are so worn they would probably be better used as rags? In either case, you can find a local shop, charity, or business that can put your old parka and galoshes to good use.
Have a mattress collecting dust in the attic? Consider brushing it off and taking it to a local charity. They will be able to spruce it up and resell it or donate it to a home in need. On the other hand, if your mattress is a bit broken in, you can recycle using local collection centers.
Just say no - to improperly disposing of medications and syringes. If you’ve ever been prescribed a medication in pill or shot form, these are the services you want to use to make sure any leftovers are properly disposed of.
Paints & lacquers can stay squirreled away in the garage or shed for a while, but at some point they will become rather unpleasant to the eye. That’s when you should check around to find a local disposal center that will take your old paint cans off your hands. Some local organizations will also take your full cans and resell or donate them for you.
Recycle Ann Arbor provides curbside compost pickup for most food and yard waste, but there also local organizations that will gladly take your old yard debris and turn it into mulch and compost for residents to use.
For Everything Else…
Household Hazardous Waste Collection in Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor residents can use Washtenaw County’s Home Toxics Collection Center to safely dispose of common hazardous waste from around the home. The center is open the first three Saturdays of every month from April through November from 9am til noon, and December through March by appointment only. It is a free service available to all Washtenaw County residents.
Monroe's Material Recovery Facility & Recycle Center
10025 Industrial Dr, Hamburg, MI 48139
Recycling Success Stories in Ann Arbor
The Ann Arbor Upcycle Project Keeps Arts & Crafts, Crafty
If a single word could apply to the entire upcycling movement, it would be resourcefulness. That’s exactly how the Ann Arbor Upcycle Project works. It receives donations of yarn, fabric, canvas, and more and distributes them back to the local community using what they describe as a “participatory pricing structure", meaning customers can pay what they want for the materials on offer.
The idea behind the project is to spark creativity among members of the community who may not otherwise have access to the kinds of materials that can be found at the Ann Arbor Upcycle Project’s store. Of course, there are plenty of large chain stores that can provide a thin paintbrush and stencils, but the markup can be prohibitively expensive, especially for a full-time artist. That’s why the Upcycle Project makes a point of gathering up all those forgotten and unwanted craft supplies from people’s basement and attics, and pools them altogether for Ann Arbor’s creatives to use for their arts and crafts. Otherwise, all that potential art would just end up in a landfill.
Recycle Ann Arbor: A Pioneer of the Recycling World
During the 1970’s, the idea of curbside recycling was a novel one, with very few cities even considering the notion of driving around collecting people’s paper and plastic waste and taking it anywhere besides the landfill. Recycle Ann Arbor saw that the future of recycling would require an efficient curbside collection system, and pioneered the first such service in parts of Ann Arbor beginning in 1978. Residents were issued with some of the first recycling bins in the nation, allowing them to recycle basic materials just by leaving them at the curb.
Three years later, Recycle Ann Arbor was granted the first contract to collect recyclables from all Ann Arbor residents on a monthly basis. A service that has since grown to include weekly curbside collections and several recycling & reuse programs designed to divert everything from wood to carpets from the landfill. Their efforts have certainly paid off as the city estimates that 50% of household debris is diverted from the landfill, with single-family homes recycling between 80-85% of their waste.