Recycling Tip for Better Results: Food Waste and Fall Leaves
The chill of November often brings to mind the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and the end of the growing season in Michigan. In this month, food waste and fall leaves (yard waste) abound! It's important to remember that food waste and yard waste are different waste streams than recycling, and should be handled differently during disposal.
Why can’t I put food waste or yard waste into the recycling bin?
- Food waste and yard waste are considered organic material (not recyclable material) that can decompose in to nutrient-rich compost. Compostable items placed in the recycling bin contaminate the recycling stream which is meant to be clean, residue-free, and only made up of items that can be recycled curbside (paper, plastics, glass, etc). When recycling an item that once held food, all the food should be removed before recycling the empty packaging.
If I can’t put it into the recycling bin, where can it go?
- Food Waste: Try to reduce food waste at the source by purchasing only what you need. Leftovers are often inevitable, so options exist to compost food waste rather than landfill it. The City of Ann Arbor* provides seasonal curbside compost collection for those residents who elect to buy a cart. The Ann Arbor curbside compost collection allows residents to place their food waste (meat, bones, dairy, vegetable and fruit scraps, etc) into the cart for collection. You can also choose to start your own backyard compost pile to manage some types of food waste.
- Yard Waste: Many options exist in Ann Arbor for disposing of yard waste, including fall leaves. Residents can use large paper bags to collect their leaves curbside or put yard waste in the City of Ann Arbor compost carts. Additionally, the Drop-Off Station (DOS) located at 2950 E. Ellsworth Rd. and the City of Ann Arbor’s Compost Center located at 4150 Platt Rd. take yard waste from customer drop-offs. You can also choose to start your own backyard compost pile to manage yard waste.
*Recycle Ann Arbor does not manage the City of Ann Arbor’s compost program. Refer to www.a2gov.org/compost for full details about the City of Ann Arbor’s compost program.
Stay tuned for December’s “Recycling Tip for Better Results”- Winter Holiday Reuse & Recycling Guide