More information and resources for Municipalities coming soon!

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For municipalities recycling programs start with the collection of recyclables. This happens in several ways across Michigan, the two main ways are curbside collection and drop-off centers. Once the material is collected it is delivered to a material recycling facility (MRF), where it can be further sorted and then sold to processors, mills, and manufacturers to be created into new products.

Below is further detail on these types of collection and pay-as-you-throw a popular way to incentivize communities to recycle.  


Curbside Recycling is a convenient way to actively engage a community in recycling. Curbside programs tend to gain the most participation due to simplicity and accessibility. With curbside recycling, residents are given the option of having recycling picked up directly from their home like their solid waste.


Drop-Off Recycling

Drop-Off recycling sites are places where residents of a community can bring their recyclable materials to be recycled. This requires residents to sort their recycling from their waste and then physically drop it off to be recycled. Drop-off recycling centers can be essential to collecting recycling in small urban and rural areas, where curbside may not be a good fit. Drop-Off recycling sites also play a role in communities with curbside recycling for apartment complexes and local businesses.  Drop Off sites are provided directly by the community or in contract with a private service provider.

Even though drop-off centers require more effort from residents than curbside, drop-off programs can still have high participation and volume rates for their community, which adds to the environmental, social, and economic health of those communities. In order to create a successful drop-off program, there are many factors to consider. The following section provides what to consider when creating a drop-off recycling program, to keep contamination rates low and participation rates high! 

Pay As You Throw P.A.Y.T.

Pay As You Throw (PAYT) is a type of municipal solid waste collection where residents are charged based on the amount of waste they throw away. It acts as an economic incentive to reduce the amount of waste they produce.

There is a lot to consider before deciding if a PAYT program will work for your community. These programs require a detailed tracking mechanism for waste produced at the resident level and a thorough contract and cooperation with your hauler. 

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Kuntzsch Business Services list of available funding opportunities

Many studies across the country have confirmed the findings of the Michigan Recycling Coalition's State of Recycling in Michigan: A Way Forward and other state researchers on the subject. Recycling is good for the economy. Recycling creates new businesses that haul, process, and broker recovered materials, as well as companies that manufacture and distribute products made with these recycled materials. Unlike the waste management industry, recycling adds value to materials, contributing to a growing labor force including materials sorters, dispatchers, truck drivers, brokers, sales representatives, process engineers, and chemists. These jobs also generally pay above the average national wage, and many are in inner city urban areas where job creation is vital. The recycling and reuse industry generates billions in federal, state, and local tax revenues.

A U.S. EPA national dialogue on sustainable funding for state and local recycling program provides an in-depth assessment of a variety of funding options.

Funding a county or municipal recycling program is the key its success. A successful recycling program will contribute to the local economy in many ways. A number of options for funding should be considered and Funding Options for Michigan Recycling Programs provides a good summary of the those options. 

Emmet County is a mostly rural county in the northern lower peninsula. The county's Department of Public Works has developed a successful and sustainable set of programs that serves county and regional needs very well. Learn about the Emmet County model and the local and regional markets in which the county sells its recyclables.

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Terms/ Municipality recycling 101



EPA Recycling Program Toolkit- The EPA has provided a toolkit for  municipalities beginning their recycling journey. This resource details the EPA's perspective on: the key elements to establish before creating a program, how to develop and write a strong contract, how to establish contact with recycling markets, identifying collection techniques, how to build community support for the program, and how to build support from elected officials for the program.   



Contracting For Services

Knowing Who Recycles

The Michigan Recycling Coalition has created a directory of recycling companies throughout Michigan that collect and process large quantities of recycled materials. Search by location, material, or type of service provided. -

*Please contact the MRC to be added or make changes to the directory

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You can have one of the most robust recycling programs in Michigan, but if your residents don't know how to use it, or why they should, your program won't be successful. Below are some examples of recycling program marketing and education. 

Quantifying your community's efforts

Examples of Michigan Programs

Examples of marketing and educating communities





SOCCRA  Curbside Guidelines for residents (pdf.)- Highlights their curbside recycling program, special disposal services, and drop off center.







 Emmet County 25th Anniversary Recycling Guide (pdf.) - Highlights their dual-stream program, drop-off center, and all county drop sites.






Lansing Curbside Guidelines for residents (pdf.)- Highlights what is and is not accepted in their curbside cart program.







RRRASOC Curbside Recycling Guidelines (pdf.)- Highlights what's accepted in their curbside program. 




Free Resources

California Recycles has signs, stickers, and educational material for communities to use.

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Michigan's DEQ Guidelines

Foam/ Polystyrene

How to Include Foam #6 in Municipal Recycling Programs- Dart Container (PDF)

Scrap Tires

 The State of Michigan has special programs and funding for the tires in Michigan. This is a commodity handled with more attention than most.

Common Scrap Tire Violations,4561,7-135-3312_4122-60866--,00.html

Lists of Scrap Tire Facilities in Michigan,4561,7-135-3312_4122-9262--,00.html

Scrap Tire Registration Information and District Program Contacts,4561,7-135-3312_4122-10165--,00.html

Michigan Scrap Tire Cleanup Grants,4561,7-135-3307_3515-314505--,00.html

Michigan Scrap Tire Market Development Grants,4561,7-135-3307_3515-314506--,00.html


Household Hazerdous Waste HHW


How to setup a Public Carpet Recycling Program -


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Here is a link to all of the currently approved county Solid waste plans and plan amendments (Scroll to the bottom of the page),4561,7-135-3312_4123-9884--,00.html

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In communities with recycling goals, it can be especially important to lead by example. Having recycling in public spaces, like community parks, and having mandatory recycling at community events, like annual food festivals, can be great places to prove a municipality is serious about their recycling goals. Community events also serve as an ideal setting for actively engaging residents! This can seem overwhelming at first, but when a community creates the proper guidelines, it's suprising how quickly events start moving towards zero waste! 




MRC's Recycling On The Go Guide (pdf.) -Overview of how to create a successful recycling program at events and festivals. 





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Michigan is fortunate to have some dynamic composters across the state, but food and other scrap organic material is still a developing market in Michigan. As new facilities open it can be hard to keep track of where they are, below is a  batch geo map of  Composting  Facilities in Michigan-


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City of Toledo Switched to a cart based program-RRS a consulting group worked with the City of Toledo to  go from ‘ a little to no recycling’ to a cart program for solid waste and recycling







 City of Ann Arbor switches from Dual Stream to Single Stream- RRS a consulting group helped transition the city and Material Recycling Facility to single stream collection. 




cascade cart solutions logo



City of Grand Rapids adopts Pay-As-You-Throw solution- Cascade cart solutions helped Grand Rapids, Michigan adopt a Pay-As-You-Throw program with their system T.H.R.O.W. (Tip-based Household Reduction of Waste).  





Beaverton, Oregon, includes recycling as part of waste hauling fees- Beaverton introduce a cart recycling program as part of their city waste hauling, which is helping them reach over a 50% recycling rate. For Multi-family homes they introduced a recycling bag program, where families can fill the bag a non-rigid container for a home that may have limited indoor space.  The bag program along with requiring multi-family homes to provide recycling allows all residents to work towards recycling goals.   





Palm beach county

Palm Beach County, Florida offers recycling to all residents through setting pricesPalm Beach County, Florida offers recycling to all residents through setting prices- The third largest county in Florida has recycling rates above the state average and is able to offer recycling to all residents and businesses.  Palm Beach sets annual disposal fees for residents, and commercial operations across the county. Recycling is included in the fee, and is offered to every single and multi-family home in the same fashion of a twice a week pick-up one day for garbage one day for recycling. 



EPA Logo



State/ CommuniState/ Community Waste Characterizations- Municipal solid waste characterization studies are a useful tool for states and communities to gain a full understanding of their waste stream. These studies look at the entirety of what is being disposed of and diverted from their community’s waste streams. Understanding how much recycled material is in a waste stream is key to accurately setting diversion/recycling goals. 



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City of Lansing Solid Waste Ordinances (PDF)

Chef Container sample contract (PDF)

Clinton County E-Waste services RFP (PDF)

Clinton County HHW services RFP (PDF)

City of Novi Refuse Collector License Application sample (PDF)