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General Recycling Information

  • You can find your EGLE recycling contact information on the regional contact map. To find local recycling specialist, visit the EGLE local contacts list.

  • Proper recycling is not only good for the environment and economy, but it is important for the safety of people who work at the receiving facilities. Check out our Recycling Safety video to see some of the dangerous items that workers find in the recycling plant. Find more on recycling right on our Learn About Recycling, Household Hazardous Waste, and Recycling Racoons Websites.

  • “Dual stream recycling” is a more traditional method of recycling that is still very common across the state of Michigan. Dual stream recycling requires individuals to sort their recyclables into different categories, commonly requiring fiber materials (paper, corrugated cardboard, paperboard, etc.) to be separated from plastics, metal, and glass. 

  • There are two common types of recycling collection program designs. “Single stream recycling” allows you to put all of your recyclable items into a single cart, often including plastics, metal, fiber materials (paper, corrugated cardboard, paperboard, etc.), and glass. Due to the convenience factor, which tends to increase participation in the program, single stream recycling is a continually growing recycling service and is common in large population areas.

  • See our Sustainable Materials Management Hierarchy for a simple roadmap to making the most sustainable choices about the materials you buy and use.  The hierarchy promotes choices that are the least harmful to our environment and the best for mitigating climate change.  The hierarchy advocates reuse and recycling instead of disposal because it takes less energy to make new products from recycled materials than it does when using virgin materials. This results in less carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel fired power plants, which is the largest contributor to climate change, and preserves virgin resources in our environment for future generations.

  • “I am not sure if this item can be recycled, but I’ll throw it in anyway, just in case…”

    This is a statement that most avid recyclers have said at one point or another. This habit is referred to as “wishful recycling,” and while intentions are good, when you put materials into the recycling bin that shouldn’t be there, you may slow down the entire recycling process and simply send that item on a longer trip to the landfill. Most recycling facilities use manual sorting and/or machines to sort the recyclables. The more inappropriate items in the bin, the more inefficient and difficult sorting is for workers performing the sort by hand. Some items can damage or get caught in the machinery, causing an entire plant to shut down while the materials are removed and the machinery is fixed (plastic bags are often a culprit of this issue). Always refer to the list of acceptable items from your recycling service provider. Do your best to follow the guidelines provided to you, and you can help increase the value of recyclables provided by your community! 

  • Go to Michigan.gov/MIRecycles to find funding opportunities for recycling from EGLE.

  • Check out our Recycling Webpage and connect with our Recycling Raccoons Squad or one of our recycling specialists.

  • It probably takes most people less than 30-minutes to drink a 16-ounce beverage. In Michigan we all know there is a ten-cent incentive to not throw away used beverage bottles, but are the other benefits clear? What about the other recyclable materials that we have in our homes? As an example, take a minute to consider the life of a plastic bottle:

    The life cycle of a plastic bottle

    It is a complicated process to create a bottle that is typically used by a consumer for less than 30 minutes. When that beverage bottle is placed in the garbage can, its life is over, being buried in a landfill where it will take over 400 years to decompose. If that beverage bottle is recycled, it can be transformed back into the same plastic pellets used to make it in the first place. While it takes energy to transport and recycle materials, the energy put into recycling supports a “loop” in which natural resources do not go to waste. Before you place something in your garbage can, be sure to ask yourself - “Is this really garbage?”