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Recycling rolls forward for 15K Bay City households

Curbside recycling is on a roll in Bay City, as the city replaced 18-gallon totes with 96-gallon rolling carts – at five times the capacity – for 15,000 households. The switch took place late last year.

Recycling carts rolled into Bay City with help from an EGLE infrastructure grant and The Recycling Partnership.

Recycling carts rolled into Bay City with help from an EGLE infrastructure grant and The Recycling Partnership.


Grants from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), trade association American Beverage’s Every Bottle Back initiative, and the nonprofit Recycling Partnership covered the cost of the carts plus education and outreach about the city’s new every-other-week recycling collection schedule that started Jan. 2. The city is the first Great Lakes Bay Region community partnering with the state to provide the carts.

At a kickoff event, Bay City Parks and Environmental Affairs Manager Tim Botzau said the change is expected to more than double Bay City’s pickup of recyclable materials, from 160 pounds a year per household to an estimated 350 pounds a year. The estimated 1,425 additional tons collected will bring the community total closer to 2,626 tons a year, an all-time high.

EGLE Recycling Specialist Tracy Purrenhage said curbside carts are a high-priority way to increase collection of materials that can be reused and repurposed into new products and to keep recyclable materials from going into landfills. Michigan’s MI Healthy Climate Plan for economywide carbon neutrality by 2050 includes a goal of tripling Michigan’s recycling rate to 45% from 2005-2030.

“Our goal is to make it easier than ever before for Bay City residents – and others who live in the Great Lakes Bay Region and across Michigan – to reduce, reuse and recycle items instead of throwing them away in the garbage,” Purrenhage said.

The new curbside pickup service will use trucks equipped with mechanical arms to pick up and empty carts. Bay City residents can find collection scheduled information and answers to frequently asked questions at

Officials ask that residents continue to do their part by placing only recyclable materials in the recycling carts, including glass bottles and jars, aluminum and steel cans, food and beverage cartons, paper products (including newspapers and flattened cardboard), and empty plastic bottles and containers. 

Food and drink containers should be rinsed. Items that cannot be recycled include plastic bags, paper towels, electrical equipment, batteries, and clothing. 

Find more recycling do’s and don’ts on EGLE’s recycling information website,