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Recycling FAQ

How do I start recycling in Detroit?

The City of Detroit offers free, curbside recycling to all single-family homes and residential buildings with 1-4 units. It’s a voluntary program, and all residents must request their cart.

If you live in a larger apartment building, you can bring your recyclables to Recycle Here!, the city’s recycling drop-off site. You can also ask your property manager about adding recycling service to your building.

There are 3 ways to get a blue cart:

  1. Click here to play the educational recycling game and sign up to get a FREE recycling cart
  2. Chat with a recycling expert at Green Living Science! Call (313) 871-4000 ext 3, or email [email protected] 
  3. Pay a one-time fee of $25 to get a recycling cart from your waste hauler:
    • If you live on the east side or in southwest Detroit south of I-94, call Green for Life (GFL): (844) 464-3587
    • If you live on the west side north of I-94, contact Waste Management: (844) 233-8764

 

What can I recycle curbside?
  • Paper: Remove plastic wrap from newspaper, magazines, and catalogs. Clean and empty paper coffee and soda cups and containers. Office paper and junk mail: window envelopes are OK to recycle. All shredded paper should be placed in a cardboard box.
  • Plastic Containers: Recycle rigid plastic bottles, jugs, jars, cups, trays and containers marked with a triangle and a #1 through #7. Please empty all liquids and food waste from the container. Remove plastic straws and foil tops as these items are not accepted. NO plastic bags, Styrofoam, shrink wrap, or bubble wrap.

  • Cardboard: Flatten all cardboard and place it inside your recycling cart. Clean and empty pizza boxes (no leftover food).
  • Metal: Aluminum cans, foil and trays are all accepted for recycling as long as they are clean. Labels can be kept on the containers. NO chip bags, candy wrappers, or foil lids.
  • Glass: Food and beverage glass bottles and jars only. NO window glass or mirrors. NO glass vases or drinking cups.
What can I take to Recycle Here! (5960 Lincoln St. Detroit, MI)?
What items should NOT go into my recycling container?

Unacceptable Items:

  • Plastic bags
  • Food or liquids
  • Styrofoam containers and styrofoam packaging
  • Propane tanks
  • Paint cans
  • Medical waste
  • Flammable liquids
  • Household cleaners
  • Chemicals (dry or liquid)
  • Wood or other construction or demolition materials
  • Yard waste: wood, grass clippings, or brush
  • Batteries or light bulbs
  • Bagged recyclables (all items should be loose in your cart)
When should I put the recycling container on the curb?

It is important to set out your cart no later than 7 AM on the day of service. Carts may be set out the night prior to your collection day and should be returned to your property within a day of collection.

Curbside recycling is serviced up every other week, along with your bulk and yard waste. See your next collection day on the Find Your Waste Pickup Schedule Tool see your next day and to sign up for free text message reminders.

 

What if my cart is not serviced?
  • Confirm your service date here. Your cart must be out by 7:00 a.m. on your day of service.
  • You can also sign up for text message reminders for recycling, yard waste, bulk, and trash service days by texting your address to (313)800-7905.
  • Contact DPW to report missed service: 313-876-0004.
  • Also call your hauler:
    • If you live on the east side or in southwest Detroit, GFL Environmental USA, Inc. is your waste hauler. Contact GFL Customer Care center at (844) GO.GFLUSA (844) 464-3587.
    • If you live on the west side, WM is your waste hauler.  Contact WM Customer Service at (844) 2-DETROIT (233-8764).
What should I do with household hazardous waste?

Household hazardous waste can be brought to: Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Receiving Facility
2000 E. Ferry Street (near the I-75 and I-94 freeways)
Every Thursday from 7:30 am – 2:00 pm
Every Fourth Saturday of the Month from 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
This facility is open to Detroit residents ONLY! There is no charge!

Acceptable Items (Home Toxics/Electronics):

  • Paint & Paint Products
  • Aerosol Cans
  • Pesticides/Herbicides
  • Batteries – Alkaline, Auto
  • Fluorescent Tubes
  • Propane Cylinders
  • Mercury
  • Corrosives – Acids, Bases
  • Medical Sharps
  • Medicine - OTC
  • Furniture Polish
  • Floor Care Products
  • Gasoline
  • Lighter Fluid
  • Kerosene
  • Oil
  • Antifreeze
  • Fuel
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Oxidizers
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Computer Monitors
  • Keyboards
  • Microwave
  • Mouse
  • Computer Terminals
  • Laptop Computers
  • Printers
  • Fax Machines
  • Scanners
  • Cable Boxes
  • Cell Phones
  • Typewriters
  • Televisions
  • DVDs/VCRs
  • Gaming Units

Unacceptable Items:

  • No Commercial waste
  • Air Conditioning Units
  • Ammunition or Explosives
  • Appliances
  • Construction Materials
  • Construction Debris
  • Controlled Substances
  • No Lab Chemicals
  • Miscellaneous Car Parts
  • Non-Standard Gases
  • Radioactive Material
  • Shock-Sensitive Materials
  • Standard Household Trash
  • Yard Waste
  • Unknown/Unidentified Gases

Pharmaceuticals and Sharps

The disposal of unwanted or expired pharmaceuticals down a drain or toilet is damaging to the environment. Research has found that small amounts of pharmaceutical drugs collect in streams, lakes and rivers by entering through wastewater treatment plants that treat residential, commercial, and industrial wastewater. The majority of these pharmaceuticals enter the sewer system through disposal of unused or expired medications down the toilet or drain. Increased amounts of pharmaceuticals in surface water bodies have been shown to increase bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

  • Empty all pills, caplets, etc. into a zip lock bag prior to placement in the container.
  • Take empty pill containers away for disposal in a home recycling bin.
  • Remove any and all personal information from container prior to placing it in the recycling bin.
  • Please only deposit needles, lancets, and similar items.

Please make sure these items are deposited in a rigid, sealed container. (HARD PLASTIC – e.g. laundry detergent containers).
For more info, you can call
Household Hazardous Waste
(313) 923-2240