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City of Kalamazoo

We’ve pawed our way through recycling bins all over the state, and we’ve learned that the rules of recycling differ from one community to the next. That’s why we’re here to talk to you about YOUR rules – the rules of recycling for residents of the City of Kalamazoo. Reduce and reuse first, know it before you throw it when you recycle, and always reach out to the city of Kalamazoo when you have questions.

Wondering if something is recyclable or belongs in the trash? Or when your pick-up date is? Use the buttons below for all your Kalamazoo recycling questions.


KALAMAZOO’S Essential Rules to Recycling Perfection

The plastic bags and flexible plastics shown below are not recyclable curbside – but many grocery stores accept clean and dry bags and wraps.

What’s NEVER recyclable are things like potato chip bags and frozen food bags – just throw those out. They often contain multiple types and layers of plastic, making them impossible to recycle.

TIP: Reuse your smaller plastic bags as trash can liners or to pick up pet waste.

No plastic bags

No bread bags

No plastic sandwich baggies

No air pillows used in packaging

No plastic shipping envelopes

No bathroom tissue & paper towel wrapping

Recyclables need to be loose in the cart. We know it’s tempting to keep things orderly by putting all your recyclables in plastic (or paper) bags – but it’s a bad idea. Here’s why:

  • Plastic bags are not recyclable curbside (they get tangled in the machines).
  • Recyclables need to be loose in the cart for sorting at the facility.
  • Bagged items often get thrown out since facilities can’t safely determine what’s inside without risk to their employees.

No recyclables in a plastic bag

Loose recyclables

Basically, if you recycle something that has not been rinsed and emptied, you risk contaminating the entire truckload of recyclables. Which usually means all of your recycling (and all of your neighbor’s) ends up in a landfill. The good news is it’s easy to do it right. Keep it simple. Keep it clean.

Clean metal cans

Clean aluminum foil

Clean foil pans

Clean plastic jugs and bottles

No plastic food containers with food inside

No metal cans with food inside

We just can’t get enough paper. So, if you have paper, keep it clean and dry and bring it on.

BUT WAIT! Do not recycle paper towels, paper plates, paper napkins and tissues. They’re not recyclable curbside even if they’re brand-new.

Stack of papers and folders

Paper envelopes with plastic windows

Sticky notes

No paper towels

No paper plates

No tissues

Keep up the good work, Kalamazoo!

If you still have questions about what’s recyclable and what’s not, the City of Kalamazoo can help.

Kalamazoo Public Services
415 E. Stockbridge Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49001

These rules are true of all curbside recycling for residents of the City of Kalamazoo. If you live outside the city, you'll want to check with your local recycling provider for your specific rules and information.

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