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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years ago






  • It curbs waste

    • Each hour, U.S. residents throw away 25 million recyclable plastic beverage bottles.

    • Each month, U.S. residents throw away enough recyclable glass bottles and jars to fill a skyscraper.

    • Each year, U.S. residents consume 85 million tons of paper, or 680 pounds per person, and throw away enough recyclable office paper to build a 12-foot high wall from Los Angeles to New York City.

    • Each year, the average U.S. resident produces 4.4 pounds of waste per day, or 229 million tons of waste per year.

      Existing recycling and composting programs alone have the capacity to cut U.S. residents' waste in half!

  • It saves resources

    • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a television for three hours or a 100 watt lightbulb for four hours.

    • Each ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 Kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water.

    • The Ann Arbor Materials Recovery Facility processes 110 tons of recyclables from 30 communities each day. Each year, this:

      • Saves 340,000 trees, or 1,545 acres of woodlands

      • Saves 84 million KHW of electricity, or enough electricity to power 140,000 homes

      • Saves 140 million gallons of water, or enough to fill 5,600 swimming pools

      • Saves 60,000 cubic yards of space that would otherwise go to a landfill

  • It prevents pollution

    • Recycling reduces air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

    • Each year, recycling at the Ann Arbor Materials Recovery Facility prevents 1.2 million pounds of air pollution.

  • It makes good business sense

    • Recycling allows manufacturers easy access to raw materials.

    • Recycling saves the City of Ann Arbor $200,000 in landfill deposit fees

    • Recycling grosses up to $2 million for the City of Ann Arbor in sales of recyclable materials to paper and steel mills, plastic factories, etc.




The City of Ann Arbor provides free weekly curbside collection of compostables and many recyclables. Call 99-GREEN (734.994.7336) to order home delivery of recycling bins ("totes") and rolling carts for curbside collection. Houses may use cardboard boxes or paper bags to hold surplus recyclables that don't fit into carts or totes. 



Carts and totes must be set out at the curb before 7am on collection day (but not more than 24 hours before), and removed within 12 hours of pickup. Collection happens on the following days for ICC houses:

King Black Elk O'Keeffe
Linder Debs Renaisance
Michigan Grad  
Minnie's Gregory  
Ruth's Lester  
Vail Luther  
Zeno Nakamura  


ICC members can encourage one another to recycle by posting recycling information in the houses. The University of Michigan Waste Management Services has recycling posters and signs available for download.







Phone books and paperback books, paper bags, and newspaper, including all inserts

Glass and ceramics, including clear and colored glass bottles, drinking glass, flower pots, jars, jugs, plates, and Pyrex. Remove all lids.

Clean textiles

Frozen food boxes or waxed cardboard

Magazines, including all glossy, mixed paper and newsprint advertisements,  catalogs, and magazines. Staples and glue binding are fine.

Plastic bottles #1 and #2, including bottle-and-screw-top jar shapes only, such as milk jugs and bottles of cleaners, cooking oil, laundry detergents, and water. Remove and discard all lids.

Packing peanuts (bagged), Styrofoam (plastic #6), #2 and #4 plastic grocery bags

Plastic lids, plastic straws, plastic tubs for margarine or yogurt, or plastic envelopes, such as Tyvek

Mixed paper and junk mail, including blueprints, computer paper, copier paper, file folders, loose leaf paper, paper envelopes with plastic labels and windows, and stationery.

Milk cartons and juice boxes, including empty juice cartons.

3.5" disks, audio/video tapes, batteries, CDs, computers, fluorescent light tubes ($1/each),  hardcover books, printer cartridges, or televisions

Paper cups, paper napkins, paper tissue products, paper towels, or treated papers, such as thermal fax paper or carbon paper

Boxboard, including backs of note paper,  canned beverage cases, cereal, grayboard, non-corrugated grayboard, paper egg carton, paper towel rolls, shoe boxes, and tissue boxes. Place inside a brown paper bag or cardboard box.

Cans, aerosols, and scrap metals, including coat hangers, empty aerosols, foil, steel and aluminum cans, pie tins, metal jar lids, empty aerosols, pots and pans, utensils, metal pipes, and other metal items up to 1 cubic foot and weighing up to 20 pounds. Teflon coating and non-metallic handles are fine.

Car batteries; motor oil and oil filters (5 gallons or filters/month, $.25/each extra); antifreeze, brake, and transmission fluids  ($1/gallon); car tires ($3/tire), and truck tires ($15/tire)

Metal or plastic binders or paper clips

Corrugated cardboard. Please empty and flatten rippled boxes, such as pizza boxes. Cut or fold large boxes up to 3'x2' and bundle with tape or string and stuff into a box up to 18 inches deep. Place in or set next to tote or cart. Staples and tape are fine.


Tipwell materials for a fee, including aluminum, Freon appliances, light and heavy waste (building debris, carpeting, furniture, and mattresses), steel, copper, concrete, propane tanks, vinyl siding, wood, and yard waste




The City of Ann Arbor conducts curbside compostable collection April - Nov.

  • ACCEPTABLE MATERIALS: Crab apples, garden prunings, Halloween pumpkins, leaves, tree branches up to 6 in. in diameter, and weeds

  • UNACCEPTABLE MATERIALS: Grass clippings, refuse, stones, and tree branches over 6 in. in diameter


Houses may can, bag, or bundle their compostables for curbside collection.

  • CAN: 30 - 35 gallon trash cans marked with a "Compostable" label (call 99.GREEN to order your label)

  • BAG: 30-gallon paper bag. Available at local home and garden supply stores.

  • BUNDLE: Branches under 6 in. in diameter may be cut into 3 - 4 ft. lengths and tied with twine into bundles up to 18 in. in diameter.



A backyard compost pile is made by mixing one part "green" (high nitrogen content) and two parts "brown" (high carbon content) chopped or shredded materials with soil and water, and mixing the materials periodically to add air.

  • GREEN MATERIALS: Bouquets and flowers, fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, non-woody garden prunings, and weeds.

  • BROWN MATERIALS: Corncobs, dry leaves, dead brown plants, pine needles, potted plants, sawdust, straw, and finely chopped woody brush.

  • UNACCEPTABLE MATERIALS: Cooked produce, dog or cat waste, dairy products, diseased plant material, or meat.


How to construct a compost pile:

  1. Pick a location near a garden or water source and away from wooden structures and neighboring houses.

  2. Set aside enough space for a 3 - 4' x 3 - 4' pile.

  3. Pick a method to confine the pile. There are several options:

    1. An open pile blended into the landscape of a garden or semi-wooded site.

    2. Four wooden pallets tied together.

    3. 12 ft. of chicken wire or snow fencing tied into a corral with clips or hooks for easy access.

    4. Multiple units for keeping fresh yard waste, actively composting materials, and mature compost separate.


How to compost:

  1. Mix one part green material with two parts brown material.

  2. Sprinkle a shovel-full of soil or mature compost every 6 in. to provide the microorganisms necessary for the decomposition process.

  3. Add water to keep the pile as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

  4. Mix or turn periodically with a garden fork. Microorganisms need oxygen and small particle size.  The more often you turn the pile, the quicker it breaks down.


What to do with mature compost:

  1. Add several inches to flower or vegetable gardens in the spring or fall.

  2. Use when starting seedlings or planting trees and shrubs.

  3. Spread up to 1 in. over lawns in the spring, and rake in gently.

  4. Mulch compost around plantings to prevent the soil from drying out, provide nutrients, prevent erosion, and help modify soil temperatures.



Composting with worms, or vermicomposting, is an alternative method for disposing of kitchen waste. You can buy a worm bin, or make your own.


How to make a worm bin:

  1. To make your own bin, take a 10 - 14 gallon plastic storage bin with a snug-fitting lid, like a Rubbermaid Roughtote, and drill small holes along the lid and along the top 2 - 4 in. of the bin to allow for good aeration.

    • When buying a bin, consider that 1 square foot of surface space is necessary for every 1 lb. of food waste produced per week.
  2. Add newspaper (remove all glossy inserts first) or shredded paper in 1 in. strips.

    • Add more bedding every 3 - 5 weeks or when there is not enough bedding to completely bury the food waste.
  3. Mix water with the paper until there is no standing water in the bottom of the container.

  4. Mix 1 handful of garden soil, and fluff the bedding.

  5. Spread 1 pound of redworms over the top of the bedding.

    • Redworms are available through local bait shops and Flowerfield Enterprises (10322 Shaver Rd., Kalamazoo, MI 49024, phone: 269.327.0108).
  6. Completely bury food waste (3 - 5 lbs./week per 1 pound of redworms).

    • Acceptable foods:

      • Cereals, cornmeal & oatmeal

      • Coffee grounds

      • Crushed egg shells (necessary for worm reproduction)

      • Fruit peelings (apples cores, banana peels, grapefruit peels, orange peels, pears, pineapple rind, tomatoes)

      • Tea bags & tea leaves

      • Vegetable peelings (cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, onion peels, potato peels)

    • Unacceptable foods:

      • Animal bones

      • Butter & cheese

      • Mayonnaise & salad dressing

      • Meat, poultry & fish

      • Greasy foods

  7. Cover the bin, and place it in a location where the temperature will remain 55 - 77 degrees Fahrenheit.


What to do with mature vermicompost:

  1. Work the vermicompost into garden soil

  2. Add a spoonful of vermicompost to potted plants

  3. Make compost tea

  • Mix 5 parts water with 2 parts vermicompost in a container

  • Let the mixture sit 3 - 5 days

  • Strain the mixture with a cheesecloth or sieve

  • Pour the compost tea into a spray bottle

  • Spray diseased plants or plants with a bacteria or fungus with the compost tea 



Grass clippings are accepted at no charge at the City of Ann Arbor Compost Center 8am - 4pm Mon. - Sat. at 4150 Platt Rd. in Ann Arbor. An easy way to compost grass clippings and fertilize your lawn (and avoid bagging, storing, and hauling grass clippings) is through grasscycling via the "cut it high and dry, let it lie" method:

  1. Set your mower blade to 2 or 2.5 inches.

    • Power and "reel" mowers can be operated without a grass catcher. Just activate the grasscycling option on your mower (installed on all power motors since 1994), and remove the bag.

  2. Mow when your grass is dry and 3 - 4 in. tall.

    • Only cut 1 or 1.5 inches of dry grass at a time to avoid grass clumps.
    • Keep the mower blade sharp to speed up the mowing process, and avoid torn grass, which is more susceptible to turf diseases.
  3. The grass blade, which is 85% water, will decompose in a few days.



Ann Arbor District Library

343 Fifth Ave.

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Phone: 734.327.4200

10am - 9pm Mon., 9am - 9pm Tues. - Fri., 9am - 6pm Sat., 12 - 6pm Sun.

Accepts books delivered to the loading dock of the Downtown Library during business hours.


Friends In Deed

30 N. Washington St., Ste. 30B

Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Phone: 734.484.7607


9:30am - 12pm Tues. - Fri.

Accepts furniture to provide to Washtenaw County residents. Call for pick-up.


Give the Gift of Sight

Give the Gift of Sight is a family of charitable programs providing free vision care and eyewear to underprivileged individuals in North America and in developing countries around the world. Donate old sunglasses or prescription eyeglasses at LensCrafters (324 Briarwood Cir. in Briarwood Mall, telephone 734-994-6464), Pearle Vision (207 Fletcher, telephone 734-647-4300; 3510 Washtenaw Ave., telephone 734-971-1130; 654 Briarwood Cir. in Briarwood Mall, telephone 734-761-8300; 856 Briarwood Cir., telephone 734-769-5777; 2555 Jackson Rd., telephone 734-995-4277), Sears Optical (900 Briarwood Cir., telephone 734-769-8918), or Target (2000 Waters Rd., telephone 734-996-0700; 3749 Carenter Rd., telephone 734-975-4396).


Habitat for Humanity ReStore

170 April Dr.

Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Phone: 734.822.1530

Fax: 734.677.1572

Accepts quality used and surplus building materials. Proceeds help fund the construction of Habitat houses within the community.


HopeLine | Verizon Wireless

Collects no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries and accessories in any condition from any wireless service provider. Phones that can be refurbished are sold for reuse and those without value are disposed of in an environmentally sound way. Proceeds from the HopeLine program are used to provide wireless phones and cash grants to local shelters and non-profit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention and awareness. Verizone Wireless has four locations in Ann Arbor: 3365 Washtenaw Ave. Ste. E (telephone 734-973-8336), 100 Briarwood Cir. (inside Briarwood Mall, telephone 734-623-8620), 3547 Washtenaw Ave. (inside Circuit City, telephone 734-971-2367), and 2570 Jackson Ave. (telephone 734-769-1722).


Humane Society of Huron Valley

3100 Cherry Hill Rd.

Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Phone: 734.662.5585

Fax: 734.662.0749

8am - 6pm Mon. - Fri. (Clinic)

Check online for a complete list of needs.


The ReUse Center

2420 S. Industrial Hwy.

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Phone: 734.222.7880

9am – 5pm Mon. – Sat. (Donations accepted until 4pm.)

Accepts good, reusable building materials and household items. Check online for a complete list of acceptable and unacceptable items.


Safe House Center

4100 Clark Rd.

Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Phone: 734.973.0242

Check online for a complete list of needs.


The Scrap Box

581 State Cir.

Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Phone: 734.994.0012


10am - 6pm Tues. - Fri., 10am - 2pm Sat.

Accepts baby food jars, corks, coffee cans, buttons, sewing notions, craft supplies, costume jewelry, yarn, clean fabric (1/4 yard or longer), seashells, and CDs. Check online for a complete list of donation tips.


Shelter Association of Washtenaw County

312 W. Huron St.

Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Phone: 734.662.2829, Ext. 221

Fax: 734.996.3022


Check online for a complete list of needs.



Apple Recycling Program

Purchase any qualifying Apple computer or monitor and receive free recycling of your old computer and monitor -- regardless of manufacturer. When you make a purchase through the online Apple Store, you will be given the opportunity to opt into the Apple Recycling Program. For the retail Apple Store (100 Briarwood Cir., telephone 734-780-2471), a Mac Specialist will offer the option to participate at the point of sale. 


Common Threads Garment Recycling | Patagonia

Patagonia recycles worn out Patagonia Capilene® Performance Baselayers, fleece, and organic cotton tee shirts and Polartec® fleece from other manufacturers into new Patagonia clothing. Mail freshly-washed garments to the Patagonia Service Center, Attn: Common Threads Recycling Program, 8550 White Fir St. Reno, NV 89523-8939.


How to Recycle Everything | LIME

There's more to recycling than melting down plastic soda bottles to make new plastic soda bottles. Discover how and where to recycle everything you never thought you could.  Didn't find what you're looking for? Post a question in the forums to get help from the LIME community.


Ink & Toner Cartridge Recycling | Office Depot

Office Depot (800 Eisenhower Pkwy., telephone 734-747-8540) operates a national program to collect used laser and inkjet cartridges for remanufacture. Each cartridge reclaimed conserves, on average, the equivalent of half a gallon of oil compared to manufacturing one from scratch. 


Reuse-A-Shoe | Nike

Nike collects athletic shoes (any brand, but no shoes containing metal, no cleats, and no wet or damp shoes) to be recycled. Nike Reuse-A-Shoe collects and recycles 1 - 2 million pairs of athletic shoes each year, which are ground up and turned into sports surfaces such as basketball and tennis courts, soccer, football and baseball fields, tracks and playground surfaces. Since 1993, Nike has donated over 150 sports surfaces in under-served communities. The nearest Nike Reuse-A-Shoe drop-off site is at Webberville High School (309 Grand River East in Webberville).


Washtenaw County Turning Trash Into Treasure

Phone: 734.222.6784


An online guide to disposal options for not-so-recyclable materials in Washtenaw County, including antifreeze, appliances, art supplies, bags, automobile and household batteries, bicycles, books, bricks and concrete, building materials, carpeting, cell phones, cleaning supplies, clothing and shoes, computers and disks, dry cleaning supplies, drywall, egg cartons, electronics, fire extinguishers, fluorescent light bulbs, Freon, furniture, kitchenware, mattresses, medical supplies, metal, motor oil, office supplies, packing materials, paint, pet supplies, photography supplies, propane tanks, records, tapes, CDs, sharps, smoke detectors, sporting goods, Styrofoam and polystrene, tires, toner cartridges, toxics, toys and games, video tapes, and yard waste.

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