Trash and Recycling

Little girl carrying a box of recyclable plastic.

Where to Put What

When we're pressed for time and/or money, tossing large or hazardous items into the trash. or recycling bins can seem like a reasonable solution. Unfortunately, what's quick and convenient for one member, can be an unfair burden for all the others.

Illegal dumping drains co-op resources, exposes staff to potential hazards, and compromises our environment. To protect both our residents and our ecosystem, Ann Arbor's trash and recycling services come with some very important restrictions.

By following these rules, you will help ensure our compliance with municipal law and the health and well-being of our families.

The Brown Trash Dumpsters

Every court features at least one brown trash dumpster.

The following items are ALLOWED in these dumpsters:

  • Everyday trash
  • Baby wipes
  • Clorox wipes
  • Food and coffee grinds
  • Eggshells
  • Pizza boxes
  • Baby diapers
  • Feminine hygiene products

The following items are NOT ALLOWED in the brown dumpsters:

  • Wet paint or cans
  • Hazardous chemicals or flammable liquids
  • Automobile oils or fluids
  • Tires
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Furniture (chairs, couches, shelves)
  • Mattresses of any kind
  • Carpets
  • Construction waste
  • Electronics (TV, tablets computers)
  • Appliances (washers, dryers)
  • Batteries

The Blue Recycle Bins

The City of Ann Arbor offers residential collection for recyclable items via the blue recycle bins placed in every court throughout the co-op. All items must be clean and empty.

The following items are ALLOWED in the blue recycle bins:

  • Plastic bottles, tubs, and milk jugs (including plastic caps if screwed tight onto bottle)
  • Cartons
  • Glass bottles and jars of any color (labels may be left on)
  • Metal cans and foil (ball up aluminum foil)
  • Mixed paper (newspaper, magazines, junk mail, office paper)
  • Cardboard boxes when:
    • Smashed
    • Broken down
    • Flattened
    • Cut up if too large for recycle bins

The following items are NOT ALLOWED in the blue recycle bins:

  • Boxes that are not broken down
  • Food
  • Used pizza boxes
  • Disposable cups and silverware
  • Styrofoam
  • Glass (except bottles) or ceramic items
  • Diapers
  • Masks and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) items
  • Personal items
  • Fabric
  • Bubble wrap or packing materials
  • Storage bags (such as Ziploc)
  • Plastic bags
  • Trash

Brown Compost Bins

Composting is a great way to take advantage of nature’s own recycling system. Leaves, grass, and other organic matter provide food for bacteria, worms, fungi, and other microorganisms. These tiny recyclers break down this "food" and turn it into a dark, nutrient-rich dirt, or compost. This service is seasonally available.

The following items are ALLOWED in the brown compost bins:

  • Tree limbs, twigs, and trimmings (less than 6-inch diameter)
  • Plants, cut flowers & potting soil
  • Unpainted, untreated lumber
  • Garden pruning, crab apples, etc.
  • Grass clippings
  • Weeds
  • Leaves, brush
  • Dirt
  • Paper bags, towels, or napkins
  • Newspaper
  • Coffee grounds and filters

The following items are NOT ALLOWED in the brown compost bins:

  • Boxes
  • Tree stumps
  • Dirt, rocks, stones
  • Animal waste, pet feces
  • Food (the City of Ann Arbor allows this, but Forest Hills does not*)
  • Meat bones (the City of Ann Arbor allows this, but Forest Hills does not*)
  • Food wrappers
  • Cups or straws
  • Recyclables
  • Garbage
  • Plastic bags

*We do not allow food or bones in the compost bins because, in our close, residential areas, rotting food poses health and safety hazards from both microbes and animals such as skunks, raccoons, possums, and other wildlife.

Turn Your Trash into Treasure—Not Terror!

Trash and furniture piled up next to Forest Hills dumpsters.

If you need to dispose of household items that are not allowed in either the dumpsters or the recycling bins, please do not simply leave them in the dumpster area. Take them to the Ann Arbor Drop Off Station 734-971-7400 or Re-Use Center 734-222-7880.

Learn more at Recycle Ann Arbor .

For information about what can and can't be recycled, visit A-Z Recycling Guide 

Consider donating used furniture and other household items that are still in good condition. Many local nonprofit organizations are in great need of donations, including:

Use this handy Trash and Recycling Flyer  for a quick reference.


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