Recycling Information, Guidance, Liinks & Outlets

Recycling Resources

What is recycling?

"Recycling" means separating, collecting, processing, marketing, and ultimately using a material that would have been thrown away. This morning's newspaper can be recycled for another morning's news or other paper products. Cans and bottles can be crafted for other uses.

When a product has been recycled and then reused as a new product, the recycling loop has been closed. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be used over and over with no loss in quality. The process of creating new glass from old is also extremely efficient, producing virtually no waste or unwanted byproducts.

Quality products and packaging are being made from recovered materials. We can all help create markets for recyclables by buying and using these products.

Waste Trends
For More current information on solid waste use and recycling patterns in the United States go to:

EPA Annual Municipal Solid Waste Characterization Update
EPA Municipal Solid Waste Site

What can we recycle?

Each local recycling program is designed to handle specific materials. Commonly recycled materials include:
Paper - newspaper, office paper, cardboard, and other paper types.
Yard trimmings - grass, leaves, and shrub and tree clippings are recycled by composting.
Glass - bottles and jars (clear, green, and amber).
Aluminum - beverage containers
Other metals - steel cans, auto bodies, refrigerators (coolants such as freon typically require special recovery and recycling procedures), and stoves.
Batteries - both dry cell (toy/watch/flashlight batteries) and wet cell (vehicle batteries).
Used motor oil - vehicle crankcase oil and oil filters.
Plastics - soda bottles, milk jugs, bags, and detergent containers.
Household electronics - computers, tv, stereo, gameboys, pda's, etc.
Other household items such as clothes and furniture are often "recycled" by donating them to charities, theater groups, and service groups that will repair and sell them or distribute and use them. This is more correctly classified as "reuse" than "recycling" since the items are not broken down into their constituent materials and reformed into new products. Tires are also recycled.

Recycling Rates

Recycling Rates 

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Buy Recyclable Goods and Goods Made of Recycled Materials

Select items in packages and containers made of recyclable materials.
When you shop, follow this order of preference when considering an item:
  1. Glass
  2. Aluminum
  3. Paper
  4. Plastic
  5. Multimaterial
Fact
Use products made from recycled materials whenever you can.
Encourage state and local government agencies, businesses, and others to purchase recycled products.
Consider products made of materials which are recycled locally.

Recycling Rates Back to the top of the page


Get Involved and Recycle at Home!

State Recycling Rates

Local governments, nonprofit organizations, and private enterprises run several kinds of collection programs.

Curbside collection is the most convenient way for a household to recycle. These programs offer scheduled pickup of separated, recyclable products from the curb - like trash collection. The company performing the pickup service will generally supply homes on the pickup route with specially marked containers for holding the items to be collected. Unfortunately, curbside pickup is not available in all communities.

Drop-off centers are sites set up for us to leave materials for recyling. They serve as convenient central pick-up locations for processors or recyclers.

Buy-back centers pay consumers for recyclable materials. Many people recycle aluminum cans, plastic and glass pop bottles at buy-back centers.

Waste companies - buy recyclables from offices, businesses, institutions, schools, and industries. They may be contracted by a local government to provide curbside collection to private homes.

Find out if there is a recycling program in your community. Find out what can be recycled, how the program works (drop-off center, buy-back center, or curbside pickup), and how containers must be cleaned and separated. Often labels must be removed from metal cans prior to recycling though not from glass containers.

Take advantage of businesses and organizations which provide collection opportunities. For example, many grocery stores collect bags for recycling, garages often accept used motor oil, auto supply stores typically buy-back used vehicle batteries, and scout groups collect newspapers as a fund raising event. Several states have bottle deposit ruleswhich encourage bottle recycling by requiring bottle purchaser to leave a few cents bottle deposit per bottle (typically 5 or 10 cents) at the time of purchase. The bottle deposit is returned when the empty bottles are brought back to the store or to a buy-back center.

Think of ways to reduce the amount of material that gets added to the waste stream. Don't throw away what you can use again. Leave grass clipping on the lawn or compost them with other yard and kitchen waste. Donate unwanted items that are in good, or at least, repairable, condition.

For more information about recycling, check out the Reusable News Bulletin , at http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/recycle/reuse.htm or call the recycling hotline at 800-CLEAN UP (800-253-2687).

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Free Booklets, Fact Sheets, Guides, etc.

  • (The) Consumer's Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste
    Describes how consumers can reduce their garbage by making environmentally aware decisions about the products and packaging they purchase, use, and ultimately dispose of. Suggestions follow four basic principles: reduce, reuse, recycle, and respond.
  • Disposal Tips for Home Health Care (Patient Flyer)
    Adobe Acrobat PDF File || About...

    Provides tips for preventing injury, illness, and pollution when disposing of sharp objects and contaminated materials used in administering home health care. Describes simple steps to safely dispose of needles, syringes, lancets, and other sharp objects.
  • Electronics Reuse and Recycling Directory - March 1997
    Provides resources for information on reuse and recycling of a variety of consumer electronics, such as computers, televisions, video cameras, etc. Lists contact information for original equipment manufacturers, scrap dealers that utilize certain components within these products, businesses that dismantle or repair electronic items, and community and charitable organizations.
  • The Bohning Company.-A RETAP Success Story. This 1997 case study shows how a small northern Michigan manufacturer was able to successfully implement a number of waste reduction techniques with the assistance of the Michigan Retired Engineer Technical Assistance Program.
  • Conservation Tips for Businesses . This fact sheet covers a number of environmental areas including toxics reduction, energy efficiency and basic conservation activities.
  • Considerations in Selecting a Commercial (Off-Site) Solvent Recycling Service
  • Low Energy Recycling of Foundry Sand . This 1996 case study highlights the recycling efforts of foundry sand by Wolverine Bronze Company in Roseville, Michigan. At the heart of the system is a low energy "scrubbing." technique.
  • McNaughton & Gunn, Inc . This is a case study about a book printer located in Saline, Michigan. Its process generates paper, film scraps, aluminum printing plates, ink, and office paper waste. In an effort to reduce adverse impacts to the environment and to reduce disposal costs, the company strives to prevent or minimize the amount of waste being generated (source reduction). Source reduction strategies such as raw material input substitution, working with suppliers to reduce input packaging, and office management changes were key components in eliminating hazardous and solid waste.
  • Michigan Materials Exchange Service . This publication describes how your company can list materials and find materials using the Michigan Materials Exchange Service. Four on-line services are used to help locate markets for industrial over-runs, surpluses and other materials.
  • Pollution Prevention: What You Can Do At Your Facility . This publication takes you through the various areas in a typical facility where there is potential for pollution. It provides information and techniques for preventing pollution at the source. (pdf)
  • Procuring Recycled Products Fact Sheet (pdf )
  • Recycled Materials Market Directory  (RMMD) The RMMD is a list developed by the Environmental Assistance Division to assist generators and collectors in finding markets for recyclable materials. Eight major sections (drums & barrels, glass, metals, oils & solvents, paper, plastics, pallets & wood & yard wastes, and miscellaneous) contain categories for a variety of recyclables such as old newsprint and clear container glass. It also contains difficult and new recyclables such as dry cell batteries and tires. Plans are underway to provide this information on the Internet and on disk as well as having it available in printed form. Please leave a message including your address with the Environmental Assistance Center and a paper copy will be mailed to you.
  • Recycling at Lorin Industries . This case study describes the reduction efforts of a job shop coil anodizer in Muskegon, Michigan. Through recycling of metals and other solid waste, chemical recovery, wastewater pretreatment, and water and energy conservation, the company is well on its way to a goal of zero discharge.
  • Reducing Corrugated Cardboard Waste . Corrugated cardboard is a common packing material that many businesses accumulate as waste. This fact sheet provides useful information on how you may be able to reduce that waste or collect it for recycling.
  • Reducing Office Paper Waste . This fact sheet includes tips that any office can use to reduce the amount of office paper waste it generates. It also includes the basics for setting up a paper recycling program.
  • Trickle Down Waste Water Reuse. Pilot Transport in Brighton, Michigan, is a trucking company that transports prototype vehicles around the country. Part of running a successful transport company involves washing the transport vehicles often. The result is a large volume of oily waste water. The company decided that the best option for dealing with this waste from a cost, as well as from an environmental standpoint, was to capture, clean and reuse the waste water. This case study describes the process.
  • Waste Reduction/Pollution Prevention: Checklist and Glossary . This fact sheet contains common waste reduction practices that can be applied in any business and at most facilities. The glossary contains definitions of terms often used in discussions of pollution prevention and waste reduction. (pdf)
  • Disposal Tips for Home Health Care including New Information about Disposing of Medical Sharps [PDF, 4 pages, 66 KB] - a flyer that gives tips for preventing injury, illness, and pollution when disposing of home health care products
  • " GreenScaping" Your Lawn and Garden [PDF, 8 pages, 1772 KB] - a booklet providing a few simple waste reduction practices that can not only improve your lawn and garden, but also the environment ( tambin en Espaol ) [PDF, 8 pages, 313 KB]
  • Moving Out, Moving In [PDF, 12 pages, 331 KB] - a guide suggesting environmentally safe alternatives to throwing away unwanted "junk" and showing how to purchase new items with the environment in mind
  • Setting Up a Home Office [PDF, 4 pages, 443 KB] - a fact sheet on how to set up an environment-friendly home office
  • Volunteer for Change: A Guide to Environmental Community Service [PDF, 24 pages, 581 KB] - a booklet containing examples of volunteer projects related to solid waste management ( tambin en Espaol ) [PDF, 24, pages, 578 KB]
  • You Dump It, You Drink It: Recycle Used Motor Oil [PDF, 4 pages, 127 KB] - a brochure for consumers who change their own motor oil ( tambin en Espaol ) [PDF, 4 pages, 178 KB]