Random Recycling Questions, Part 3

By Andrea Davis on November 15, 2023

If you ever find yourself standing by a recycling cart wondering if you should toss something, you have come to the right place. Recycling can sometimes seem complicated, but Granger is here to help. Check out the responses that follow for some commonly asked questions.

(The answers provided are based on applicable Michigan laws and recycling materials that Granger recycling policies. Other companies and geographic locations may have different guidelines on what is acceptable.)


Should I recycle something if it says it’s “biodegradable”?

No. Biodegradable materials typically have plastic in them, but they are intended to easily break down in the landfill. Compostable materials are often confused with biodegradable. They should not be recycled either—use in a compost pile or container or put them in your general waste.


I bought something online. Can I recycle the packaging it comes in?

Maybe. Paper bags, paper shipping envelopes and cardboard are fine to recycle. However, much of the packaging that comes inside an online order can’t be put in your recycling.

Bubble wrap is a plastic film like plastic bags and bread bags. Paper bags with plastic air pockets and the plastic air bags that protect your products fall into the same category and aren’t accepted in your recycling. Films and bags like these can easily get caught in recycling machines and slow down or damage the machinery. If you are looking to recycle plastic film, try your local grocery store. Most have drop-off areas and will recycle those materials for you!

Foam packaging, like inserts or peanuts, are another material that shouldn’t go in your curbside recycling. If you want to recycle them, look for local collection events. For those in the Lansing area, consider taking your foam packaging to a Dart Drop-off location.

Can I recycle my old trophies, plaques or medals?

Old trophies, plaques or medals shouldn’t be placed in your curbside recycling. However, there are businesses and companies that repurpose old awards so they can be used again in the future! You can send your old awards to a local thrift store/nonprofit or to a refurbishing company like Total Awards and Promotions or Lamb Awards and Engraving.

Are coffee pods recyclable?

We do not take coffee pods in our recycling. The cups are too small to be recovered during the screening process. If you have a machine that uses coffee pods, investing in reusable coffee pods is an easy way to reduce waste while still enjoying your favorite flavors.

Can folders be recycled?

Mostly. We do not accept plastic folders or binders in recycling. However, paper-based or manilla folders are perfectly fine to recycle. Hanging folders are also recyclable as long as the hooks are separated from the folder before placing them in your curbside cart.

Do bulky, rigid plastics, like hanging flower baskets, go in the recycling?

No. Bulky, rigid plastics should not go in your curbside recycling. (This category includes other household items like laundry baskets and lawn chairs.) Bulky, rigid plastics require a different recycling process. Look for special collections in your area to recycle them. If they are still in good condition, consider donating them so they can be reused.

 Are envelopes recyclable?

Yes! Envelopes can be placed in your curbside recycling. We will take most envelope types, including window. For more examples of envelopes you might send, refer to the answer about packaging.

Do receipts go in my curbside recycling?

No, receipts should not go in your curbside recycling. Receipts are usually printed on a kind of paper containing chemicals not easily removed during the recycling process. These chemicals can contaminate other items in recycling, so it’s best to throw your old receipts away instead.

Can I recycle items made of boxboard?

Mostly, yes. Most boxboard is acceptable to place in your recycling. The boxboard from your cereal, granola bars, tissues, toilet paper or even the roll inside your wrapping paper are all fine to recycling. The main exceptions are packages that are intended to be placed in the fridge or freezer. Boxboard in this group tends to have a special coating that allows it to stay intact and should be put in your general waste cart. This includes products like 6-pack, 12-pack or 24-pack beverage containers; butter boxes and frozen dinner boxes. An exception to this rule is boxboard-type egg cartons, which are great to put in recycling.

Can I recycle books if I don’t want them anymore?

Yes, books can be recycled if they are soft cover, or the hard cover has been removed. If you have a book in decent condition, you can also donate it, give it away or upcycle it.

With your newfound recycling expertise, you can feel confident in your recycling power. If we didn’t get to the question burning in your mind, check out our other posts or reach us at [email protected]



Want to learn even more about recycling? Check out the other posts in our random recycling questions series.

Random Recycling Questions


Random Recycling Questions, Part 2