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Living in Ann Arbor: Recycling and Waste

Updated: Nov 5, 2022

By Shirley

Ann Arbor was a pioneer town in implementing residential pick-up recycling in 1976 and was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for being one of the best recycling communities in North America in 1999. In December of 2021, the city of Ann Arbor expanded their facilities by opening the Materials Recovery Facility on Platt Road. This new facility is being used to locally sort materials from Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and other areas close by to be sent for recycling. Not long ago, the material collected was sent miles away (to different countries) for sorting and recycling, but the new facility and new partnerships with local industries are making it possible for the material collected to be recycled no farther than 200 miles from Ann Arbor. This means that all the glass, paper, aluminum, and other materials you send to be recycled will be recycled close to home. That will help the Michigan economy by creating new jobs, and it will help the environment since we are decreasing the use of fossil fuels to send the materials to recycling facilities abroad. Please take part in becoming a responsible consumer by recycling your household waste.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay (1)

Basic Services: Trash and other collections

Since you have made your home here in Michigan, you are already aware that your household waste is collected once a week at no charge. Most communities offer trash, recycling, and yard waste collection. Only those living in one-family homes in the city of Ann Arbor are, at present, offered compost (kitchen scrap) collection. Large tree branches and bulk items are also collected in all communities, but you might need to call in advance. There is also a special Christmas tree collection at the beginning of January.


Even though collection rules might differ in each town, materials accepted for recycling include glass jars, metal cans, plastic containers #1, #2 and #5, paper (magazines, newspaper, mail, etc.) and cardboard (flattened boxes: mailing boxes, cereal boxes, tissue boxes, etc.). Please make sure all material you send for recycling is clean so as to avoid contamination. Check the website for your area (below) for more information on the materials accepted and the schedule for pick up.

There are also drop-off locations where you can take either larger quantities of material which do not fit the issued cart or for materials which are not accepted in your cart. Drop-off locations might charge you a small fee, but they also accept a larger range of materials and materials from people who live in Washtenaw County.


If you live in a one-family home, your garbage, recyclables, yard waste and compostable materials must be placed in carts/containers issued by the city at the curb in front of your house on the night before or on the early morning of the day of collection. The city will provide different carts or containers for each different material. Some towns accept yard waste paper bags.

When buying or renting a house, these carts should come with the house. In the same way, the carts should be left behind when you move out. If you need new or bigger carts you can contact your town (See links below).

If you live in an apartment, follow the instructions from your manager on how to dispose of your trash and recyclables.

Yard Waste and Bulk items collection:

Since we are in Michigan, yard waste is not collected all year around. It is usually collected between April and November with some pick up days in the beginning of the year for Christmas tree collection. For tree branches or other big yard waste, you might have to call in advance for a special pick up. Only small yard waste, like grass clippings, leaves and small branches are accepted in yard waste bags or carts. For other bulk items, like an old, broken refrigerator or a sofa, you also might have to call in advance to ask for a special pick up and you might have to pay a small fee.

You can read all the information on how to sort material for waste and recycling, what materials are accepted in the carts, and where, when, and how to place your cart at the curb in the links below.

For information about waste and recycling management in Ann Arbor, please check this link:

For information about waste and recycling in Saline:

For information about waste and recycling in Ypsilanti:

For more recycling resources in Washtenaw County, please check the link below:

(1) Image by <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=157110">OpenClipart-Vectors</a> from <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=157110">Pixabay</a>

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