RecyclingDontsCity has high rate of curbside recycling, and wants to ensure successes continue

The City of Dearborn is urging residents not to place household trash and other unacceptable items in their green recycling carts.

All household trash should be placed in the gray trash carts.

The City has provided every household with a 96-gallon gray trash cart, and a 96-gallon green recycling cart.

Dearborn has a high rate of residential recycling, with more than 80 percent of households participating in the curbside program.

This is an accomplishment the entire city should be proud of, said Nick Siroskey, director of Residential Services.

But recently, the City has experienced an increase in contamination in the green recycling carts, especially in Tuesday and Thursday trash pickup districts. Residents are wrongly mixing trash with their recycling materials.

Contamination means that the recycling service center used by the City could start rejecting its recycling loads. Recycling materials mixed with trash would then be directed to landfills.

That would defeat the purpose of curbside recycling, said Siroskey.

It also means that residents who repeatedly put trash in their green recycling carts could be ticketed, under city ordinance.

If residents have too much trash to fit into their gray cart, they can order another trash cart by calling 313-943-2433. There is a one-time fee of $55 for the cart. There is no extra cost for weekly trash pickup of the additional cart.

Under city ordinance, residents are required to obtain an additional gray trash cart if they repeatedly generate more trash than will fit in one gray cart.

Residents must never put the following prohibited materials in their green recycling cart:

  • Household trash
  • Styrofoam of any kind, including packing materials
  • Yard waste, including grass clippings, leaves, sticks or branches
  • Wood
  • Clothing, shoes, cushions, pillows or other fabrics or materials

The items above should be placed in bags and put into the gray trash cart.

Republic Services is the city’s trash and recycling contractor. If Republic Services or city employees spot contamination, like household trash, in the green recycling carts at the curb, they will leave residents a notice and not pick up that green recycling cart.

Employees of the Sanitation Division of Residential Services will be reaching out directly to residents who are placing trash and other wrong items in their recycling carts.

To help understand the correct items to place in the green recycling cart, follow this list:

  • Junk mail and paper bags
  • Newspapers, magazines, catalogs
  • Steel, tin and aluminum cans
  • Plastic jugs/bottles (No.1 and 2)
  • Household plastic (No. 3 through 7)
  • Plastic bags
  • Glass
  • Cardboard (Cardboard boxes that do not fit in the green recycling cart must be broken down or cut up and tied in manageable bundles so that it will fit inside the green recycling cart after it is emptied once by the automated arm on the recycling truck. The only way for cardboard to be picked up and placed in the recycling truck is for the cardboard to be inside the green recycling cart. If the cardboard is not bundled so that it can be placed inside the cart for reloading and picked up by the automated arm, the cardboard will not be collected from the curb.)

Residents can find comprehensive rules regarding curbside trash and recycling collection on the city’s website,, and in the Spring 2014 edition of the printed city newsletter, The Back Fence, which was mailed to every household in April.

For copies, please call the Department of Public Information at 313-943-2285.