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Single-Stream Recycling


In July of 2010, the City of Ann Arbor reconfigured its recycling plant to accept an expanded range of materials from residents, schools, and businesses, transitioned to a single-stream recycling operation as well as other enhancements.  

What is single-stream recycling?  

Single stream recycling allows residents and businesses to put all their recyclable materials together in one convenient wheeled recycling cart.  No recyclables will be collected outside the recycling carts.  Trash is put in a separate cart.  

The attached 5-minute video clip provides detailed information on how your materials are handled at Ann Arbor's Materials Recycling Facility A2 MRF recycling 5-min video link.

​What new materials are accepted? 

All plastic bottles and tubs (except #3/PVC and biodegradable plastics/PLA) will be added. Large bulky plastic items, such as laundry baskets and buckets will be accepted. For more details, open to a new web page here,

What materials are not be accepted? 

Polystyrene foam (Styrofoam™), #3 (PVC) plastics, biodegradable/PLA plastics, and plastic bags are not accepted. Ceramics, porcelain, batteries, used motor oil and oil filters will no longer be accepted.

When did single-stream recycling begin in Ann Arbor? 

Single-stream recycling began on Monday, July 5, 2010 for all residents and participating businesses. Since that date all customers are able to recycle all the additional plastics and other materials mentioned above. The new recycle carts will not arrive immediately for everyone.  Please continue to use your existing recycling stacking bins until you have received your new cart.  You will be able to blend all the recyclable materials in your existing stacking bins effective July 5, 2010.

How about these Recycling carts? 

New, free recycling carts were delivered to each residence in August 2010.  Businesses are able to place all materials to be recycled in their current recycling carts and “papers” recycling dumpsters. A​partment complexes received new or refurbished carts, depending on the age of the current containers. Please contact Recycle Ann Arbor at 734.662.6288 if you live or work in Ann Arbor for information on getting a free recycling cart.

Why convert to single-stream recycling?  

The single-stream program will substantially increase the city’s recycling rate and decrease solid waste costs.  The city is spending $3.25 million to upgrade their Materials Recovery Facility and $1.4 million for new recycling carts, as well funding for automated lift arms on the new recycle trucks.  It is anticipated that the program savings will pay back this investment in less than 7 years.  For more information, please see the Powerpoint that was presented to City Council or the more detailed project budget spreadsheet (5-page pdf spreadsheet). 


    Please email comments to Thank you!

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    FUN--TRY THIS!  

    October 2010: CTN's FYI video on A2's single-stream recycling and RecycleBank (2-min video clip)

    July 2010: Michigan Radio's "Environment Report" hosted an interview on single-stream recycling, and posted a 3-minute video clip on YouTube of Ann Arbor's new MRF.

    August 2010: Step-by-step guide to recycling processing at the Ann Arbor MRF (4-page pdf)

    Watch a video clip of generic single-stream recycling plants, similar to Ann Arbor's system. The animated video allows you to select various stages of recycling--from the collection point, to the various sorting options at the MRF (Video is provided by RecycleBank) Click here.

    Another short video by the Science Channel of a single-stream MRF is linked here.


    New MRF Single-stream recycling video (5 minutes) from CTN!

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