Updated Recycle Cart Stickers Being Distributed for Single-family Homes in Ann Arbor

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Archived News Release: June 6, 2022 - ​Recycling continues to evolve, and the City of Ann Arbor, historically a leader in the field, is responding by issuing updated cart stickers to reflect new recycling standards. This, along with the opening of the new Materials Recovery Facility in December 2021, will help keep Ann Arbor recycling operating efficiently. The new stickers focus on recycling changes to scrap metal, plastic and shredded paper. Specifically, scrap metal and shredded paper are NO longer accepted in curbside cart recycling but may be recycled at the Drop-Off-Station. The only plastics now accepted curbside are rinsed and dry plastic bottles, tubs and containers, specifically #1, #2 and #5 plastics.

In order to have this updated information reflected on curbside recycling carts, the city has hired LeadPoint to put new stickers on single-family recycling carts. This re-stickering will take place June 27–July 1. Residents should place carts out during this week, even if service isn't required, so that the new stickers can be placed on carts. Staff will be wearing high-visibility vests.

Scrap metal and shredded paper

Small pieces of scrap metal can pose a danger to staff and more often than not fall through the cracks of recycling sorting equipment and end up in the trash. Similar to small pieces of scrap metal, shredded paper cannot be sorted by the equipment and ends up as trash. Workers at the MRF are also advised not to open boxes or bags, because of the danger of what may be inside, so packaging shredded paper or scrap metal for placement in curbside carts is not viable.


Regarding changes to plastics, it is important to understand that the numbers on plastic containers were never meant to indicate its recyclability. Instead, numbers were meant to indicate the type of plastic that is utilized to create the container. There are thousands of types of plastics and to break them into 7 categories is an over-simplification. Since there are so many plastics, the recycling industry has moved toward using the shape and use of an item to identify what is most recyclable. The shapes that our MRF is most interested in are plastic bottles, tubs, and containers. These are typically numbered 1, 2, and 5, and are frequently found with products used in the kitchen, bath and laundry. Please note that for an item to be recyclable there must be a market for that material, meaning a company must purchase it for use in their manufacturing process. Good markets for the other numbered plastics don't currently exist. 

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Media Contact Information

Robert Kellar
Communications Specialist
734.794.6000 x41524
[email protected]

Ann Arbor has 123,851 residents, spans 28.97 square miles and is frequently recognized as a foremost place to live, learn, work, thrive and visit. To keep up with City of Ann Arbor information, subscribe for email updates, and follow the city on Twitter and Facebook. The city's mission is to deliver exceptional services that sustain and enhance a vibrant, safe and diverse community.