Grand Rapids

Home » Local Rules » Grand Rapids


City of Grand Rapids

We’ve pawed our way through recycling bins all over the state, and we’ve learned that the rules of recycling differ from one community to the next. That’s why we’re here to talk to you about YOUR rules – the rules of recycling for City of Grand Rapids residents. Reduce and reuse first, know it before you throw it when you recycle, and always reach out to City of Grand Rapids Recycling when you have questions.

Wondering where to recycle? Reach out to City of Grand Rapids Recycling to set up curbside recycling or learn where to drop-off recycling in Kent County.

Grand Rapids’ Essential Rules to Recycling Perfection

Effective January 2020, plastic bags and other flexible plastics are no longer recyclable curbside in GR. The plastic bags and flexible plastics shown above are recyclable locally though – many grocery stores accept clean and dry bags and wraps.

What’s NEVER recyclable are things like potato chip bags and frozen food bags – just throw those out. They often contain multiple types and layers of plastic, making them impossible to recycle.

TIP: Reuse your smaller plastic bags as trash can liners or to pick up pet waste.

No plastic bags

No bread bags

No plastic sandwich baggies

No air pillows used in packaging

No plastic shipping envelopes

No bathroom tissue & paper towel wrapping

Trash in the recycling bin is simply not cool. If there is too much trash in a load of recycling, you risk contaminating the entire truckload of recyclables. Which usually means all of your recyclables (and all of your neighbor’s) end up in a landfill. And you don’t want that, right? Right. Neither do we.

No dirty paper towels, tissues, napkins

No dirty paper plates

No diapers

Plastic bottles, jugs and containers are recyclable – always rinse and empty to avoid getting food waste on the paper and cardboard in your cart.

Smaller plastic items and things made of multiple plastic materials belong in the trash.

Plastic jugs and containers

Water bottles

Clean plastic takeout food containers

No plastic utensils, straws, toothbrushes

Boxboard, paperboard and your typical shipping boxes are all recyclable, and it’s fine if you leave on the tape and labels. But remember to cut down and flatten your boxes prior to placing them in the recycling bin.

There are a few cardboard noes though. A good rule to follow is this: If the cardboard container goes into the freezer, it’s best to just throw it away. Those boxes are usually covered in a thin layer of plastic to prevent them from getting soggy.

Additionally, cardboard can’t have any food residue or grease stains – a greasy pizza box is not recyclable, but you can always rip off the clean top of the box and put it in your recycling bin.

Cereal boxes

Shipping boxes

Tissue boxes

No greasy pizza boxes

Keep up the good work, Grand Rapids!

If you still have questions about what’s recyclable and what’s not, Grand Rapids Recycling can help.

Grand Rapids Recycling
300 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

These rules are true of all curbside recycling and drop-off programs for residents of the City of Grand Rapids. If you live outside the city, you’ll want to check with your local recycling provider for your specific rules and information.

Learn More

Grand Rapids skyline

Join the Squad!

Help Michigan become a leader in recycling again. Join the squad today. You don't need to be a raccoon – you just need to sign up!

After signing up for recycling news, you will receive occasional updates. We will not sell your email address to any third party at any time. View our privacy policy.

    © Copyright 2024, EGLE. All Rights Reserved.

    This website uses cookies

    We use cookies to personalize ads, to provide social media features, and to analyze our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

    Recycling Raccoons