What Goes Where?


Recycling tips from CART to help you go greener

Thanks to the city of Lansing and Capital Area Recycling and Trash (CART), residents can play a role in making the region a greener, healthier space for the residents of today and tomorrow. CART delivers recycling carts to Lansing residences, similar to those intended for trash services, for collection on a biweekly basis. Service is available to single-family households in the city of Lansing – meaning anyone within the city limits can do their part.

Luckily, Lansing communities do their part, with roughly 75 percent of residents participating. However, the idea and process of recycling may be dizzying at first glance, thus avoided by many – beckoning additional questions and furthering apprehensions. What goes where? What materials will you take? Why should I recycle? There is a plethora of misconceptions about the process that arise as result of confusion or misinformation.

Fortunately, recycling in Lansing is simple, won’t consume much of your time or effort and, most importantly, will directly benefit your neighbors and the region.

Recycling Serves the Greater Good
According to the city of Lansing and its CART services, each ton of recyclable materials collected by the city inherently saves over 14,000 trees, 6 million gallons of water, 408,000 gallons of gasoline and 2,850 metric tons of greenhouse gases.

By recycling your own materials each week, you are directly playing a role in saving our region’s environment and our natural resources.


Sorting Made Simple

Aside from restrictions on what can be recycled, CART doesn’t ask that residents sort their materials. Unlike other recycling service providers, which often require users to sort their materials into different bins based on color, type and more, CART and it processing partners do all the sorting for you when items reach their destination.

“We do not require materials to be sorted; we have a single-stream system, which means that it is sorted at the material recovery facility (MRF) where recyclables are shipped to,” explained Lori Welch, environmental specialist for the Public Service Department – O&M Division – at CART. “The MRF is located in Detroit and uses a combination of human and machine sorting to separate our materials before they are shipped out to market. We ask that people are careful and only recycle items shown on the list of acceptable materials; this is very important.”

Common Misconceptions

Everything is recyclable

The most common misconception is that everything is recyclable. While city officials wishit were true that all materials were eligible for a second lease on life, unfortunately only certain materials in certain conditions can be processed. “One thing people assume is that everything can be recycled,” said Welch. “We can’t take everything, but we do accept a wide variety of materials that are commonly generated in most households. The secret is educating our residents and having them recycle right.”


Recycling is a money-maker

“Recycling is a valuable public service, but just like trash collection, it costs money to pay drivers, operate trucks and equipment; and recycling markets are down now, so processing is costly,” said Welch. “On top of that, we pay to transport materials to a processing center because there isn’t one locally.”


Getting Started

Step 1: Request a recycling cart
Beginning your recycling journey is as simple as requesting a recycling cart be brought to your residence or business. Call the CART hotline at (517) 483-4400 or email recycle@lansingmi.gov to request a recycling cart. Collections happen on a biweekly schedule and your collection day is determined based on your route and location.

Step 2: Recycle

While not everything can be recycled, you won’t need to do any sorting. If it’s on the list and fits the description to the best of your knowledge, then throw it in the bin! All items must be empty or rinsed of contaminants and debris, such as food waste.
Items that will be accepted:

  • File folders, office paper and gift-wrapping paper
  • Paperboard boxes
  • No. 1-2 and No. 4-7 plastic container (no Styrofoam)
  • Aluminum and metal cans
  • Newspapers, magazines, brochures and inserts
  • Corrugated cardboard and paper bags
  • Glass bottles and jars (all colors)
  • Junk mail and greeting cards
  • Bulk rigid plastic (buckets, chairs)

Items that will NOT be accepted:

  • Plastic bags
  • Styrofoam containers
  • Wire hangers
  • Windowpanes, mirrors, ceramics and Pyrex dishware
  • Yard waste and clippings
  • Electronic waste (batteries, cellphones, computers, etc.)
  • Paint, pesticides, oil and cleaners
  • Waxed cardboard
  • Needles or syringes
  • No. 3 plastics
  • Construction materials (drywall, wood, etc.)

For further details, exclusions and more, we recommend visiting Lansingrecycles.com.

Stay informed about collection dates and changes to service, receive reminders, and find additional information by signing up for the Lansing Connect App. The app is available to download for free. Simply search for Lansing Connect at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store on your mobile device.

Adam Lansdell

Adam Lansdell

Adam Lansdell is an Alumni of Grand Valley State University, and currently a Communication Specialist with M3 Group of Lansing. With a passionate for all things creative it comes as no surprise that he’s also a musician, movie buff and graphic designer. Adam spends his down time biking, and spending too much of his personal income on concert tickets or vinyl records

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