Washtenaw Resource Recovery Management Authority (WRRMA)

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Washtenaw Resource Recovery Management Authority (WRRMA)

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 the cities of Ann Arbor, Dexter, Saline and Ypsilanti and the townships of Ann Arbor, Pittsfield, Scio and Ypsilanti in Washtenaw County. Reduce and reuse first, know it before you throw it when you recycle, and always reach out to WRRMA when you have questions.

Wondering what or where to recycle? Use the search option below or contact WRRMA for all questions.

Know What to recycle

Washtenaw’s Essential Rules to Recycling Perfection

Plastic bags and other flexible plastics are not recyclable curbside. The plastic bags and flexible plastics shown below 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 recycling.

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

Why all the hoopla about recycling? Recycling offers countless benefits.

  • Recycling reduces the amount of garbage that goes into landfills.
  • Recycling is great for the economy – locally and statewide. It provides jobs and creates opportunities for businesses.
  • Reusing materials we’ve already created helps conserve natural resources.
  • Recycling reduces pollution, including greenhouse gases.
  • Recycling helps protect our wildlife habitats.

Flattened cardboard

Metal cans of various sizes

Plastic jugs, containers and bottles

Office paper and folders


Junk mail

Keep up the good work, Washtenaw County!

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

Washtenaw Resource Recovery Management Authority
705 N. Zeeb Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

These rules are true of all curbside recycling and drop-off programs for residents of Washtenaw County. If you live in communities not served by WRRMA, you’ll want to check with your local recycling provider for your specific rules and information.

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