If you live in Little Traverse, Resort or Bear Creek township,

Beginning the week of April 3rd, you can begin to use your carts again. 

Until April 3rd, set aside your rolling recycling cart, please,

and use your green totes to set out all of your recyclables.



What are frost laws?

Each spring in the north, as the ground thaws, county road commissions restrict the weights of vehicles allowed on most rural roads for a few weeks to prevent damage to the pavement.  This is often called having “frost laws” in effect.


Why does this limit use of my rolling cart?

During this time, Emmet County’s standard curbside recycling trucks–which mechanically lift the carts–are limited to traveling a few major roads, so we collect your recyclables using a pickup truck and trailer or a miniature curbside truck. These lighter vehicles cannot lift the carts. This means we will not be able to empty carts during frost laws. Please use your green totes to set out all of your recyclables.

Starting February 20, NOT March 1!

*Frost laws were imposed earlier than usual this year.  In January 2017, based on their experience, the Road Commission assured Emmet County Recycling that 99% of the time frost laws are imposed on or after March 1.  However in mid February–after initial postcards and flyers with the March 1 date were distributed to recycling customers–forecasters predicted early warm weather and the Road Commission announced 2017 seasonal weight restrictions beginning at 7:00 a.m. on February 20. Everyone involved did the right thing in a timely manner, but the weather had other ideas! We apologize for any inconvenience this change may cause. 


When does frost laws end? How will I know?

Frost laws are typically lifted some time in April. We will announce the end of frost laws here, on our phone system at 348-0640, and, if necessary, with a note left in one of your green totes.  The lifting of frost laws is also announced in local newspapers.

We will also send out information regarding frost laws in our monthly e-newsletter. If you are interested in this type of communication, please sign up by clicking on the puppy to the upper right hand side of your screen.

Behind-the-scenes Video: Why can’t I use my cart during frost laws?

Need a Tote?

If you don’t have two totes, please click here to submit a request.


Need lids for your totes?

Lids are available to help contain materials in your green totes, and, thanks to a grant from the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, they are available free while supplies last.

The lids are available for pick up

  • from the Department of Public Works (DPW) Administrative Offices in the County Building in downtown Petoskey 8:30-4:30 weekdays and
  • at the Pleasantview Road Drop-off Center at 7363 Pleasantview Road, Harbor Springs from 8:00-4:00 weekdays and 8:00-3:00 on Saturdays.

You may have older green totes for which no lids are available, but these totes can be traded in for totes with lids if you prefer.  The two types of totes in use are most easily identified by the number of handles molded into the rims:

  • 2 handles in the rim (on each of the far ends): the manufacturer does not make a lid for these totes
  • 4 handles in the rim (one on every side): lids available

Some residents prefer the 2-handled totes, because they are smaller.  To discuss trading in totes, call 348-0640 M-F 8:30-4:30.


City Carts Just Work, Work, Work!

Petoskey and Harbor Springs do not exclude our big trucks from their roads during frost laws, so if you live within the city limits you may continue to use your cart all year.  No spring break for city carts–just work, work, work!