Single Stream Recycling Program


Since 2010, the City of Grand Rapids has offered a new and improved way of recycling. We call it "Single Stream" recycling. This recycling program allows you to place all of your clean recyclable materials in one cart. You no longer need to sort your recyclables. This makes recycling easier for residents.

This program uses recycling carts instead of bins. You are able to choose the cart size that best fits your needs. The dimensions of the carts:

  • 64 gallon cart is 41.5"H x 24"W x 24"D
  • 96 gallon cart is 46"H x 26"W x 34.5"D

Each cart is made with 40% recycled plastic.

All City of Grand Rapids residents may take part in this free program.  The program is available to all residents who have access to public streets.

Waste Wizard

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Recycling is important for waste reduction in the City of Grand Rapids.  It makes economic and environmental sense to recycle what is consumed. It makes even more sense to consume less! 

Here are some ways to reduce the amount of goods, products, and packaging you use at home and work.

Cut Down on Packaging

  • Avoid excess packaging, buy in bulk when you can and look for beverages in refillable bottles.
  • Re-use or carry your own grocery bags to the market. Decline a grocery sack when you can carry the items by hand

Be an Active Consumer

Write to manufactures. Tell them you'd like to see their products in recyclable packaging.

Buy goods packaged in recycled and recyclable materials.

Get your name off of "junk mail" lists.You can opt out online or by mail.

Opt out by Mail

Include: complete name, full address, and your signature

Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service 
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

Get your name off "pre-approved offers" lists (like credit card offers).

You can opt out online or by mail.

Opt out by Mail

Include: complete name, full address, and your signature.

Equifax Options
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123

Buy Smart!

  • Buy products that are made to last.
  • Buy reusable products. For example, you should use sponges and coffee mugs for multiple uses instead of paper towels and Styrofoam cup that lasts one use.

Materials We're Able to Recycle

Material That We Can't Recycle

  • Hard cover books
  • Styrofoam
  • Plastic bags #2 - #4
  • Shredded Paper
  • Plastic film wrap and materials
  • Batteries

What to Do with Material We Can't Recycle

Hard cover and paperback books

You can drop these off at a Paper Gator at a school or a church for donation.

Plastic film wrap

This needs to be placed in the container with household trash.

Plastic shopping bags

These can be recycled at a local Meijer, Lowes, or Target store (please verify with the store first). You can also search this list for places that recycle plastic.

Batteries and Styrofoam

You can bring batteries and Styrofoam to a designated drop-off location. Here is a list of battery recycling locations and Styrofoam recycling Locations 

Through Single Stream Recycling, you are able to place all of your recyclables in one cart. However, it is still important to properly prepare your recyclable materials.


Metal Preparation

 Rinse, clean, and remove labels.

Recyclable Metals List

  • Aerosol Cans (empty)
  • Aluminum
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Beverage Containers
  • Steel food

Non-recyclable Metals List

  • Bakeware
  • Car parts
  • Fencing
  • Foil-backed paper
  • Foil wrapping paper
  • Gum wrappers
  • Hangers
  • Household batteries
  • Pans
  • Pots
  • Propane Cylinders
  • Lawn Furniture


Glass Preparation

 Rinse clean and remove metal and plastic rings. Recycle lids separately

Recyclable Glass List

  • Beverage glass containers
  • Clear and colored food containers

Non- recyclable Glass List

  • Automobile glass
  • Ceramics
  • Dishes
  • Light bulbs
  • Non-food and beverage glass
  • Mirrors
  • Windowpanes

Plastic Containers and Bags

Plastic Containers Preparation

Rinse bottles/containers and put the cap back on the bottle or container.

Recyclable Plastic Containers List

  • Butter 
  • Detergent
  • Food Trays
  • Microwave Food Trays
  • Milk Jugs
  • Peanut Butter jars
  • Plant flat and flower pots
  • Plastic Containers that are stamped number 1 through 7
  • Shampoo Bottles
  • Water
  • Yogurt cups

Non-recyclable Plastics

  • Bottles containing automotive fluids or hazardous materials
  • Plastic film
  • Styrofoam
  • Any and all types of plastic bag
  • Plastic that does not have a recyclable symbol with a stamp 1 through 7


Paper Preparation

  1. Place all paper and cardboard into cart. Shredded paper is not allowed.
  2. Do not put paper into plastic bags or cardboard boxes.
  3. Break boxes down to 2’ x 2’ size and flatten. Remove all plastic liners and inserts, strapping, staples and wrapping.
  4. Please remove heavy staples and/or plastic strapping.

Non-recyclable Paper

  • Boxes with heavy staples
  • Boxes with metal or plastic strapping
  • Kleenex
  • Pet food bags
  • Styrofoam or plastic packaging
  • Wax Paper
  • Wrapping paper