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Recycling Basics



What is recycling?
Recycling is an effective way to be more sustainable with your residential waste. Materials are collected similarly to the way in which garbage is collected, but these materials will not be put into a landfill. Recycled items are taken to plants where the materials can be reused to make new products from the same materials, often plastics, glasses, metals, and papers. Some electronics can be recycled as well, such as batteries and cellular phones.


How do I know whether something can be recycled or not?
Listings for recyclable materials vary by residential location. In West Bloomfield, our waste removal providers also collect our recyclables, so it is important to know what your contractor will collect. In most cases, it is safe to assume that metal cans could be recycled, as could most glass bottles. Papers that are non-glossy such as mixed office papers, newspapers, and telephone books are typically recyclable as well. To find out what your provider will collect, please consult our residential recycling webpage.


How do I know whether my plastic containers are recyclable or not?

Each plastic container has a recycling logo on it that contains a number. This number determines whether or not a container is recyclable. The number tells the type of plastic from which a container is made, and some recycling plants only collect certain types of plastics. The most commonly recycled plastics are #1 and #2, which are used for most soda and water bottles, cooking oil bottles, milk and juice jugs, and detergent bottles. In some places, it is also common to recycle #6 plastics, such as packaging peanuts and Styrofoam cups.



How do I recycle electronics and human hazardous waste?

Cell Phones

Cell phones can be recycled at town hall. A drop box is located in the lobby at all times for collection. Usable phones that are deposited will be donated to a charitable organization that provides emergency phone use for at-risk individuals and families.


Batteries & Household Hazardous Waste

An effective way to reduce battery waste is to use rechargeable batteries, which are available at most electronic retail stores. When battery waste and chemical waste are unavoidable, they can be deposited at the annual collection drive. This usually occurs during the early summer. Please consult the township newsletter for location and date as the time approaches.

Some materials cannot be recycled through these drives, but there are other safe ways to dispose of them. These products include motor oil, explosives, paint, and detection systems. Please consult the Oakland County guide for information.


Human Hazardous Waste

Medical wastes can pose a threat to the health of those that come into contact with it. In addition to injuries that one may sustain while hauling these items, contact with them also increases the risk of infection. Sharps and other medical waste must be privately contracted for pick-up. For information regarding the process, please see the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Medical Waste Program website. A list of available medical waste disposal service providers in Michigan is also available through the Michigan DEQ.


What can I do with my yard waste?

Do not burn!

In addition to increasing the risk of uncontrolled fire, burning yard wastes makes breathing difficult for individuals with asthma, allergies, and other respiratory diseases. Over time, burning yard waste can lead to chronic diseases. The burning of yard waste is regulated by Michigan state law. For information on these regulations, please go to the MDEQ website.


Yard Waste Collection

Often, waste contractors will remove yard waste. To determine whether or not you may leave yeard waste at the curb for removal, contact your waste service provider. Please refer to the residential recycling page for provider listings and numbers.



Composting is the recycling of natural wastes. Because yard waste contains many of the essential nutrients for growing plants, these nutrients can be returned back into the environment for the maintenance and use of other plants. Starting a compost is fairly simple, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture has provided many resources for getting started. Additionally, a printer-friendly brochure with basic instructions and troubleshooting is available.

Composting brochure (PDF)


Environmental Department Homepage