Got Curbside Recycling? We’ve Got 3 Tips for Winter Recycling!


From our media release on the subject:


Piles of snow at the curb and high winds can make recycling in winter awkward.  The staff of Emmet County Recycling offers the following simple tips to smooth the way ’til spring

Set out along your driveway, not on the snow piles left by the plows.

Both recycling collection staff and snow plow drivers will appreciate this!  Totes on piles of snow created by the plows are in danger of being hit by additional snow as the streets are plowed and can be very difficult for the recycling driver to access. Instead, place the totes and cart in the end of the driveway, about five feet back.

If this would block the driveway, you can shovel a niche for the cart and totes in the snow to the side of the end of the driveway, just behind the pile created by the plows.  When setting out in the driveway, the recycling drivers recommend using the right side of the driveway (as one faces the road), because totes can be hidden from the driver’s view by piled snow if recyclables are on the left side of the drive. Finally, for the sake of efficiency, the drivers ask that totes and carts be set out in one spot, together.


If winds are high, feel free to hold your recyclables back for a week…or two.

“Many residents believe that they have to set their recyclables out every week. But really, it is better all around to just set out when needed and manageable,” explained Emmet County Recycling (ECR) Communications Coordinator Kate Melby. Since ECR added black 64-gallon carts for collection of Papers, Boxes and Bags to the existing green totes in 2016, residents now typically have 100 gallons of capacity at the curb.  This means the great majority of households can go two or even three weeks before their cart and totes fill up.  In fact, ECR actively asks that customers set their black carts out only when they are at least half full.  So when the weather is blustery, skipping a week is fine.

If the green totes begin to overflow, residents are welcome to use additional crates, totes, buckets or boxes to set out the extra, for example, plastic storage totes, five-gallon buckets or cardboard boxes.  The only requirements are 1) that any cardboard is still flattened and in pieces not more than 2’x2’ and 2) that the additional crates are not larger or deeper than the ECR green totes to prevent injuries to the collection staff. “Each of our recycling drivers serves 300 or more households a day. With all that repetitious motion, heavy or deep containers can do them harm,” said Recycling Operations Tech Josh Brubacher.

Occasionally windy weather occurs week after week on a customer’s recycling day.  In this case, ECR recommends using one of the county’s 13 drop sites to recycle accumulated materials.  Those unfamiliar with the drop sites can visit EmmetRecycling.org/services/drop-off-recycling-sites/ to find a site nearby or call 348-0640 M-F 8:30-4:30.


Get FREE lids for your green totes (while supplies last).

Lids are available to help contain materials in the 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.

ECR notes that some residents have green totes for which no lids are available, but these totes can be traded in for totes with lids if a resident prefers.  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.


“We thank everyone for recycling with us, especially when the going gets tough.  Hopefully, there will be the reward of enjoying the great beauty of winter in northern Michigan while setting out recyclables on calm winter evenings or early on still winter mornings!”  Melby said.

For more information call Emmet County Recycling at 231-348-0640 or visit EmmetRecycling.org.

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Emmet County Department of Public Works
200 Division Street, G-76, Petoskey, MI 49770 • 231-348-0640

For additional information on Emmet County, please visit www.emmetcounty.org

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