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Dumpsite waste disposal and recycling

Waste disposal options


Thanks to the efforts of Adopt-a-Forest program volunteers, nearly half of the waste cleaned up from dump sites in state forests has been recycled. Recycling is the preferred disposal method whenever possible. Metals, tires, bottles and cans are the most common recyclable materials from cleanups.

Looking for information on how and where to recycle found items?

Visit the Michigan Recycling Directory.

Here are resources for commonly-found items:

  • Some scrap metal dealers will pay a small amount for metal appliances such as washers and dryers.
  • Many electronics businesses such as Best Buy will accept used electronics for recycling.
  • Tires are not accepted by landfills and must be taken to a scrap tire facility.


Solid waste items must be disposed of at a licensed landfill or transfer station.

Smaller, bagged items cleared from dump sites can be incorporated by volunteers into residential trash collection.

In the case of larger items, you may contact Adopt-a-Forest program coordinators to request permission to use a DNR field office dumpster or request a landfill voucher. Volunteers may also seek the donation of disposal resources from a local organization willing to contribute to community cleanup efforts.

Limited program funding is available for larger sites on a by-request basis.

You may find potentially hazardous items on a cleanup such as batteries, lightbulbs, medications, paint or more. Wear the right safety gear, handle items carefully, and check out household hazardous waste resources from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. EGLE's Environmental Assistance Center or Pollution Emergency Alert System may be contacted for hazards needing immediate attention.

Donations and drop-offs

Some found items may be in good enough shape to be donated.

Clothing can be donated to thrift stores or charity organizations who will either prepare it for resale or send the items to a textile recycler.

Live Christmas trees, brush and other organic material may be disposed of at community composting sites. Here's information on composting from EGLE.