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    Single Stream Recycling Title Page 



     What is Single Stream Recycling?

    Single stream recycling refers to a system in which all paper, cardboard, glass, metal and plastic that are currently separated into different recycle bins are now placed all together in one recycling cart.  It is still important to follow the same preparation guidelines for recycling preparation except you just put everything in one container.

    Why should I recycle?

     Recycling: Helps keep residential and City waste disposal costs low; Conserves resources for future generations; reduces the need to build new landfills; is easy and more convenient with single stream curbside service; saves energy by turning throw-away trash into new materials for new products.

     Who is eligible to recycle?

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

    Are residents in condominiums eligible to participate in the recycling program?

    Condominium associations must have a signed agreement with the Public Services Department to allow the City trucks onto the private streets before residents are eligible for the recycling program.

    Are residents in apartment complexes eligible to participate in the recycling program?

    Residents in apartment complexes are not eligible for the City's recycling program.  You should contact your apartment's management office to inquire about recycling through their licensed hauler.

    Are businesses within the City eligible to participate in the recycling program?

    Business may participate in the recycling program if they have access to a public/local street.

    When will single stream recycling begin in Grand Rapids?

    Single stream recycling will begin mid-July, 2010 for current City recyclers as the new carts are delivered.  The new recycle carts will not arrive immediately for everyone.  Please continue to separate your recyclables using the two-bin system until you receive your cart.

    What is the cost of the new Single Stream Recycling Program?

    There is no out-of-pocket cost to City of Grand Rapids residents who participate in the program.

    How do I sign up for single stream recycling?

    You can sign up at Grand Rapids City Hall, Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM or by completing our online request form HERE. For additional information, please contact our office at 456-3232.

    When and how do I get my recycling cart?

    The manufacturer will deliver the cart to current recyclers' residence during the implementation of City of Grand Rapids' Single Stream Recycling Program beginning in July, 2010.  Recycling cart deliveries to new recyclers will begin after the implementation period, later in July, 2010.

    When and how often will my recycling be picked up?

    Recycling is picked up every other week on the same day as your refuse is picked up.  Click here​ for the recycling routes and collection schedule.

    Why is the City doing biweekly collection?

    Collecting recycling every other week reduces the number of trips into neighborhoods, which will reduce fuel consumption and emissions.  It is also more cost efficient because most carts are full on collection day.

    What is the estimated size of the carts?

    The dimensions of the carts are:

     the 64 gallon cart is 41.5"H x 24"W x 24"D; and the 96 gallon cart is 46"H x 26"W x 34.5"D.

    What do I do with my recycling bins?

    The recycling bins will be collected at the same time your recycling cart is delivered.

    I don't have room for a recycling cart; can I continue to use my recycling bins?

    No.  The recycling trucks have a semi-automatic tipper and will not be able to pick up the bins.

    Can I bag my recyclables before placing them in the cart?

    No.  Recyclables must be placed in the cart loose, except for shredded paper which must be bagged in paper bags and then placed in the recycling cart.

    What if I have more recyclables than will fit in the cart?  Can I use bags and set them alongside the cart?

    No.  Any items outside the cart will not be collected.  Residents that determine their recycling volume exceeds their cart may contact the City's PublicServices Department at 456-3232 to request a larger cart.

    How do I prepare my recyclables?

    Accepted materials must be emptied and rinsed before being placed in the recycling cart.  Cardboard should be flattened and cut to fit in the recycling cart.  All items must  be placed into the cart loose.  Shredded paper must be placed in a paper bag and then put in the recycling cart.  Empty plastic grocery bags with a #2 or #4 are allowed in the recycling cart.  Garbage, yard waste or batteries are not allowed in the recycling cart.

    What material can be recycled in the new Single Stream Recycling Program?

    All your current recyclables (paper, cardboard, glass, plastic containers #1-#7, aluminum and tin cans, plastic grocery bags with a #2 or #4) will go into the recycling cart.  Telephone books can now be placed into your recycling cart.

    What material cannot be recycled?

    Hard cover and paperback books, Styrofoam, plastic film wrap and batteries cannot be placed in the recycling cart.  Hard cover and paperback books can be taken to a Paper Gator at a school or a church for donation; plastic film wrap need to be placed in the container with household trash.  Batteries and Styrofoam can be taken to a drop-off location.  For a list of drop off locations, go to

    Where does all the recycling that is picked up by the City go?

    The recycling is taken to Kent County's new Recycling and Education center located at 977 Wealthy Street SW.

    Do I need to put my address on my recycling cart?

    No.  It is not necessary to mark the recycling cart because of the serial number and the radio frequency identification tag (RFID tag) embedded in the cart will identify the cart to your address.

    What if my recycling cart is stolen?

    The City will assist in trying to locate the recycling cart through the RFID tag.  If the cart is not recovered, a replacement cart will be delivered to you and a charge may apply.

    If I move to a new address in the City, can I take my cart with me?

    No.  Please leave the cart for the next resident or contact the PublicServices Department at 456-3232 to make arrangements to have the cart picked up.  You can apply for a recycling cart at your new address by going to 

    If I move to a new address outside of the City, can I take my cart with me?

    No.  The recycling carts are the property of the City of Grand Rapids.  Contact the Public Services Department at 456-3232 to arrange to have the cart picked up.

    Who maintains the recycling cart?

    The resident is responsible for keeping the recycling cart clean.  The carts are built for the purpose of recycling and should be nearly maintenance free with normal wear and tear.  Should you have any problems with the cart, contact the PublicServices Department at 456-3232.

    Will the recycling cart be registered to a specific address?

    Yes.  Each recycling cart will have a unique serial number stamped on the front of the cart.  In addition, the carts will also have an embedded radio frequency identification tag (RFID tag).  Both the serial number and RFID tag will be registered to a specific address.

    How do I dispose of hazardous waste such as oil-based paint, antifreeze, gasoline, motor oil, and chemicals?

    Please contact the Kent County offices at 616-336-2570 or go to to schedule an appointment to dispose of all your hazardous waste products.

    How do I dispose of latex paint?

    Kitty litter can be added to latex paint cans.  When the paint has hardened, you can put it in you household refuse for pick up.

    How do I dispose of household batteries?

    There are many battery recycling drop-off sites which are maintained by Kent County Department of Public Works.  To find a location near you, go to

    How do I dispose of Styrofoam?

    The following locations accept Styrofoam:

    Team Industries accepts clean food grade, clean packing peanuts, block-style Styrofoam, packaging EPS foam.  Hours are Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4 PM.  Drop off container is located in the front of the building at 4580 Airwest Drive SE, Kentwood.  For more information call (616) 698-2001 ext. 35.

    Harbor Form Inc. accepts clean Styrofoam meat trays, egg cartons, packing from around televisions and appliances, etc.  Drop off location is at 2950 Prairie St SW, Suite 300, Grandville.  Call (616)855-8150 or fax (616)8558149, for more information or go to

    Who do I call if I have other questions?

    You can contact the Grand Rapids Public Services Department at (616) 456-3232 between the hours of 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday with any questions concerning refuse, yard waste, recycling, curbs, alley grading, paving, potholes, wire baskets, dead animals in the street, illegal dumping, street sweeping, salt barrels, curb delineators, snow plowing graffiti removal and forestry.