No Household Recycling Doesn’t Mean No Recycling

By Andrea Davis on February 23, 2020

Household recycling collections and drop-offs are meant for recycling common items that can be recycled on a large scale. It’s important to follow the guidelines for this type of recycling carefully, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other, more specialty items, that you may want to find another way to recycle. If you can’t or don’t want to avoid using these materials, you can feel better about it by finding an alternate place for recycling.

Foam Polystyrene

Foam polystyrene is used to make a variety of different containers, such as egg cartons and coffee cups. It’s not recyclable in most household recycling collections, but there are other options. If you live in the Lansing area, it’s pretty easy, as Dart Container offers two recycling drop-offs for this material. (Use this link for Dart’s foam recycling locator.) Additionally, many communities offer special collection events a few times a year and these events often accept foam for recycling.

Plastic Bags

Plastic bags and other “tanglers” aren’t accepted in household recycling because they can’t be recycled using the same process as other plastics. Additionally, they can cause major damage and down time for maintenance because they get wrapped around recycling equipment. The good news is most grocery stores now have special recycling programs for the bags.

Scrap Metal

While tin and aluminum cans, foil and trays are acceptable to put in with your household recycling, heavy duty pieces of scrap metal are not allowed. However, there are many scrap metal businesses that allow you to bring them in for recycling and even pay you to do so. A quick internet search should turn up a place that’s not far from you.


Don’t throw that TV or computer monitor in your recycling cart. Do check with your local municipality for a special collection event. Many retailers also take electronic items for recycling or offer mail back programs, even if you didn’t buy it there. In fact, Michigan law requires manufacturers selling TVs and computers in the state to have a free recycling program for households and small businesses. (See the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s website for more information.)

Ink Cartridges

While you definitely shouldn’t take that empty ink or toner cartridge to the household recycling drop-off or put it in your curbside collection, it’s not too difficult to find a place to recycle it. Many brick and mortar and online retailers and office supply stores that sell ink and toner will accept the empty cartridges for recycling.


So, if you use these items, don’t despair. Just because you can’t recycle them with your household items doesn’t mean you can’t find recycling options. With a little extra effort, you can still make that recycling happen.

Please note, the items covered in this post are items that aren’t accepted in Granger curbside recycling, blue bag recycling  or recycling drop-offs. If you don’t recycle with Granger, check with your hauler or recycling collector for guidelines.