Material Recovery Facility
Operational on Dec. 1st, 2021, Recycle Ann Arbor's Zero Waste Material Recovery Facility (MRF) sorts and processes recyclables collected throughout the Ann Arbor Area. With state-of-the-art Machinex equipment combined with RAAs zero waste approach, materials are marketed regionally to their highest value and best use.
“Recycling needs to be authentic to work. In addition to bringing much needed recycling capacity to Southeast Michigan, our zero waste MRF is a model for anchoring effective recycling programs and systems in other regions.” - RAA CEO Bryan Ukena
Serving as a regional hub for recycling, over 98% of materials sorted at the facility reach our end markets within 200 miles.
The facility has available processing capacity. Interested parties should call 734.662.6288 to discuss agreements to bring their single stream materials to the MRF for sorting.
What Makes a Zero Waste MRF Different
"The MRF of the future needs to embrace a zero waste ethic--looking not only at near-term profitability, but also its stewardship of the materials entrusted to it by a supportive public, integrity in its messaging about the benefits and limitations of recycling, and the treatment of its employees, each as important elements of virtuous recycling."– Bryan Weinert, Recycle Ann Arbor Director of Strategy
All MRFs are not the same - the standard recycling industry MRF is designed first and foremost to be profitable. While RAA invested 7 million dollars (funding from Level One, State of Michigan EGLE, and Closed Loop Partners) in this MRF and, of course, has designed this MRF to remain economically viable, this was not the driving motivation to re-open this MRF.
The driving motivation for this MRF is to support a more resilient community by protecting the health of all living beings, saving valuable resources, and mitigating climate change.
Global waste generation is increasing faster than any other environmental pollutant. Therefore, action in this sector can have a much more significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) than the current emission inventories suggest. According to the US EPA the extraction of natural resources; the production, transport, and disposal of goods and food, and the provision of services account for an estimated 42% of U.S. anthropogenic GHG emissions. https://www.
But once again, only when recycling services are carefully thought out and delivered with the environmental benefits intact are we capable of moving the dial on climate. Zero Waste recycling involves recycling materials over and over again. Zero Waste recycling provides the greatest gains in mitigating climate change - this goes back to RAA’s values around the highest and best use of the recyclables processed at our MRF.
Recyclables Ready to Ship
HDPE Natural Plastic (#2)
HDPE Natural typically used for milk jugs and some tub containers. We accept HDPE plastic bottles, jugs, jars and containers.
HDPE Color Plastic (#2)
HDPE Color typically used for consumer product containers like laundry detergent, cleaning sprays and food containers. We accept HDPE plastic bottles, jugs, jars and containers.
Steel cans are used for canned foods and lids. The MRF does not process large metal objects. All large non-can/lid materials should be recycled at the Drop Off Station.
Aluminum cans are used for beverages. Michigan is a bottle bill state and aluminum cans can be returned to many participating retailers like Kroger or Meijer for cash. However, Recycle Ann Arbor does process these materials at its MRF too.
Mixed paper includes magazines, newspaper, office paper, mailers, paper packaging and box board. This material is processed at a regional tree-free mill in Wapakoneta, OH.
PET Plastic (#1)
Empty plastic bottles, jugs, jars and containers. All PET processed through the facility is recycled bottle to bottle. Our PET bales can include thermaform PET, better known as produce clamshell packaging.
OCC - Cardboard
Please be sure to flatten cardboard before recycling. This prevents cross-contamination to occur by eliminating the ability for other materials end up inside cardboard boxes.
We accept glass bottles and jars of any color. The glass sorted at the RAA MRF is processed back into glass containers, fiberglass, and/or insulation at Rumpke's Glass Beneficiation plant in Dayton, OH.
What Can You Recycle?
If you are looking for information about what materials can be deposited in your curbside bin or recycling dumpster, we recommend you reach out to your municipality or collection service. Materials processed at this MRF may not be indicative of your collection guidelines.
- All visitors must have prior permission to be on site. Please contact [email protected] with inquiries.
- Once on site please check in at the Scalehouse Office to receive instructions and proper PPE.
- We will provide required PPE - safety hats, hearing & eye protection. Visitors must wear long pants and leather shoes or boots.
- No photographs allowed unless you’ve received prior permission. All staff involved in photographs must have signed RAAs photo release in order for the photo to be used publicly.
- Parking is limited, please carpool if possible. Call the office if no parking is available: 734-668-2288.
- The MRF is an industrial operating facility. Please be cautious while onsite and follow all signage and instructions to prevent injury.
Directions - Enter off Platt Road.
- Take Ellsworth Rd to Platt Rd
- Pass Swift Run Dog Park
- Turn right at the gated entrance with a large stone sign - 4150 Platt Rd.
- Proceed around the scale to the right.
- Second Building on the right, Materials Recovery Facility 4150 Platt Rd.
- Facility not open to the public.
- 4150 Platt Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108