Trash, Recycling & Compost

Downtown and Commercial Solid Waste Initiatives

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​For Ann Arbor's businesses and downtown area, it is critical to have successful solid waste services. This effort requires the collaboration​ understanding of all parties. This page is meant to highlight what the city is doing to improve solid waste services for businesses and in alleyways throughout Ann Arbor. 


April 26, 2023: To better mitigate the increased trash generation from businesses during graduation weekend, any business that has Saturday trash dumpster or compactor service will also receive Sunday service on 4/30/23.

​​​​​​​​​​​​April 3, 2023: Seven day per week collection of trash and recycling pedestrian cans in the downtown began for the season. ​​

March 20, 2023: The Commercial Solid Waste Franchise Collection agreement with WM passed at Council. 

March 17, 2023: The Commercial Solid Waste Franchise Collection agreemen​t with WM will be heard at City Council for approval on March 20, 2023. 

January 23, 2023: Ann Arbor Public Works continues to work with WM and City Community Standards to ensure clean and adequately serviced alleys. After some adjustments, staff have seen great improvement in some alleys and appreciate the efforts of all to keep things clean!

Separately, a reminder that all recycle containers are available for any business to use. Recycling can be placed in any available recycling container; they are not assigned to individual businesses. If you'd like more information on what and how to recycle, please visit

​December 9, 2022: As we approach the year-end holiday season, we want to remind you there there will be no delays for commercial service for either the Christmas or New Year's holidays. Specifically, if you normally receive trash or recycling service on Saturday, it will also occur as scheduled on the two holiday weekends. 

November 21, 2022: Winter is here and with it the potential for snow and ice in the alley. Please remember that it is the users’ responsibilities to keep dumpsters and carts free of snow and ice so that they can be serviced. It is particularly important to clear around and leading to the dumpsters as these generally have to be rolled to the front of the truck to be serviced. It is not possible to move dumpsters if there is snow or ice around or underneath them. Thank you in advance for your help in ensuring that the trash and recycling containers remain serviceable this winter.​​

November 7, 2022: In August, after interviewing both vendors, WM was selected with an intent to award upon completion of successful contract negotiation. Starting in September, the City began and is continuing to negotiate with WM for a new Commercial Solid Waste Franchise Collection agreement. The anticipated completion date is early 2023. ​

October 30, 2022: The City arranged for extra trash and recycling collection services on Sunday October 30, 2022 to meet the demand of extra volume of material generated over the weekend of a big home and nighttime football game.   

July 19, 2022: The RFP #22-44 for Commercial Solid Waste Franchise Collection closed on July 14, 2022 at 2pm. Two proposals were received.  A team for evaluation is being established and will meet in early August.

July 6, 2022: Great news! The city has increased downtown recycling collection service by adding Saturdays as a day of collection. Staff identified the addition of Saturday recycling service to the downtown area was as a need and recommendation in the most recent Solid Waste Resource Management Plan (SWRMP). Saturday recycling is made possible through the recent approval of an additional four (4) full time employees for the Public Works Solid Waste working area.

June 16, 2022: Addendum #1 to RFP #22-44 for Commercial Solid Wate Franchise Collection has been posted. Due date for proposals is extended to July 14, 2022 at 2pm.​

May 23, 2022: The RFP for the new Commercial Solid Waste Franchise Collection is now advertised. The document can be found on the City’s Purchasing website or Proposals are due June 30, 2022 at 2pm.​

May 16, 2022: The city and OHM Advisors continue to gather and compile data for the Commercial Collections Audit of Service. The initial audit is focused on the downtown service area. To date the data compiled and analyzed includes address and parcel data from the City's GIS database, and the solid waste billing data for downtown. There are a total of over 500 commercial entities in the downtown area to be examined as part of the audit. 

April 20, 2022: More often than not, dumpsters and alleyways are kept clear of material and debris. However, in a recent case, that didn't happen, as can be seen in the r​ight of this photo. Chairs, shelving and a mirror were left out. In this particular case the Ann Arbor Police Department was notified about the illegal dumping and our public works staff will​ clean it up.​

April 19, 2022: In late March, the city requested feedback on trash service as part of stakeholder engagement for the preparation of a request for proposals for a new trash hauling contract. The results of this survey, presented as a PowerPoint presentation (PDF) during a public meeting on April 19, 2022, included 99 responses, which indicated a majority level of satisfaction with trash service.

Commercial Waste Franchise Collection Requests for Proposal

Per the City's Code of Ordinances, Chapter 26 the city collects commercial trash using a franchised hauler. The current contract for the Commercial Franchise Hauler is ending, therefore staff are preparing an RFP for new contract.​

The city has engaged OHM Advisors to provide support on this project.​


RFP Timeline listing actions by month from January 2022 through July 2023
Commercial Collections Audit of Service (March - June 2022)

​The Downtown Solid Waste Collections audit will examine all the downtown properties and identify how they receive trash service, the cost for the service and who pays the bill, along with other key information.  The audit will identify the levels of service currently being provided, how the costs for those services are distributed among shared users, and if any properties are currently not participating/paying for solid waste collection services. 

The initial audit effort is paper based, reviewing, consolidating and analyzing available data. As needed commercial businesses may be engaged by phone to provide missing information. The audit will begin by reviewing the service levels and costs of the downtown businesses given the high incidence of shared containers in that area. Future efforts will include a sampling of businesses outside the downtown service area as well.

The city strives to complete this audit by late spring, early summer 2022. ​

Tasks to complete:

  • Gather, compile and analyze data from variety of sources
  • Complete a first draft of Audit results
  • Share draft results with downtown commercial franchise stakeholders for input and feedback
  • Review stakeholder feedback
  • Finalize Audit results

Audit results will be used to complete the following:

  • Evaluate level of service needed by examining like businesses, i.e. comparing businesses based on type (office vs. restaurant); size, hours, etc.
  • Make recommendations on minimum service levels.
  • Revise the fee structure for shared containers.

Revised fee structure will be implemented with new contract beginning July 2023.​​

Tips for using compactors and dumpsters

Trash compactors​:

  • Close the compactor each time you use it. When the door is closed, the container compacts which increases available capacity.
  • If you don’t know the compactor c​ode, ask your neighbor​.
  • If your container is overflowing, an extra tip can be requested through Customer Service.
  • If the compactor is not working, report it to Waste Management by calling 800.7WM.WMWM.  


  • Flatten boxes for recycling.
  • Clear snow and remove ice around containers.
  • Keep the space in front of dumpsters clear of debris so they can be serviced.
  • Park in a way that does not block access to the dumpster.
  • Keep recyclables loose. Do not bag recyclables.
​​​​​City of Ann Arbor waste dumpster, roll-off, and cart franchise rates​ information can be found on our business trash service​ page