Paper & Cardboard & Such


Paper towels, tissues and wipes are NOT recyclable

Clean or dirty, the fibers in tissue-type papers are too short to make into something new. Dispose of paper towels, tissues, and wipes in your garbage, please.

Tissue-type papers NOT recyclable

AS ALWAYS Paper towels, tissues, and wipes are NOT RECYCLABLE

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Recycle Cardboard Boxes

WHAT:Cardboard Mixed on green web

  • Corrugated cardboard, including pizza boxes (grease is okay, but remove all of the food and that little table thingy)
  • Boxboard (for example cereal boxes, the tubes from rolls of paper towels, and boxes medicines come in)
  • Greeting Cards (but not with glitter or metallic inks or foils)
  • Cardboard frozen and refrigerated food boxes

Including: Climacell insulation pads

But NO:

Accepted curbside or at any Emmet County Drop-off Recycling Site in the Paper, Boxes and Bags cart or bin.

DROP-OFF RECYCLING SITE NOTE: Small cardboard (small enough to fit in a brown paper bag) can go in the Paper, Boxes and Bags category at the Recycling Sites. Otherwise please use the Large Cardboard bin. If your cardboard for drop-off is very large, avoid the difficulty of loading it into a Drop-off Recycling Site bin and instead take it to the Drop-Off Center. Ask the attendant to point out the cardboard tipping area.

CURBSIDE RECYCLING NOTE: Our curbside trucks are designed to collect day-to-day quantities of cardboard from households. Please observe the following limits:

  • Size: To be accepted curbside, cardboard must be in pieces under 2 feet by 2 feet. They must also fit in the cart with the lid shut.
    Larger boxes are accepted at the Drop-Off Recycling Sites and at the Drop-off Center.
  • Quantity: Businesses and institutions which regularly generate larger quantities of cardboard can recycle it either at the Drop-off Recycling Sites, at the Drop-off Center, or by setting up collection service through any of the waste haulers serving Emmet County (specify separate collection for recycling). Call 231-348-0640 for our brochure on cardboard recycling for businesses.


  • All boxes are accepted together in the same drop-site bin
  • Flatten all boxes
  • Remove plastic bags, foam and other packing materials
  • Both gray and white boxboard are okay
  • Glossy printing on the boxes is not a problem.  The non-recyclable “waxed” boxes literally are covered in wax which you can scrape off with your finger nail.
  • You don’t have to remove tape or staples


Recycle Papers, Newspapers and Magazines

WHAT:Newspaper Plus LO RES

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines and Catalogs
  • Greeting Cards*
  • Wrapping Paper and Gift Bags*
  • Office Paper (copier, computer printer, letterhead)**
  • Shredded Paper
  • Junk Mail and Envelopes
  • File Folders

For Example:
birthday cards *, bound documents, carbonless forms and receipts, cards (greeting)*, catalog envelopes (no gold “Kraft” type), catalogs, Christmas cards*, copier paper, envelopes, file folders (no intense colors), gift bags*, grayboard, greeting cards*,  legal documents**, legal pads, magazines, medical documents**, letterhead, manila folders, multipart forms (carbonless), notebooks (remove paper from spirals), pads, proprietary documents**, printer paper, private documents*, sensitive documents**, shredded paper, stationary, window envelopes, wrapping paper*
*Cards, bags or wrapping paper with glitter or metallic inks or foils are NOT recyclable
But NO:

  • NO newspapers which have gotten wet or yellowed
  • NO padded envelopes
  • NO tissue paper, paper towels or napkins
  • NO thermal receipts (glossy)


  • If junk mail feels like it has a CD, credit card, or other non-paper items in the envelope, please open it and remove these before recycling it
  • EASY! Envelopes with plastic windows are okay: there’s no need to remove the plastic
  • EASY! There’s no need to remove the following: mailing labels, paper clips, staples, stickers, sticky notes, tape
  • Please bag your shredded paper.  This prevents it from blowing away if it is collected curbside AND makes it possible for the sorters to send it to it’s “highest and best use”.  Please use a bag that is at least semi-transparent (i.e a white plastic grocery bag) so the drivers and sorters know what is inside.

**Shredding now available at the Drop-off Center!
We now offer document shredding service at the Drop-off Center for $6/copy-paper box or equivalent. Schedule an appointment online with the button below to watch your document be shredded or drop it off in our secure gated shredding area. Remember to remove binders and spiral bound booklets/pads, binder clips, and hanging folders (with the metal bars). No need to remove paper clips, staples, pastel colored papers, manila file folders, glue or staple bound booklets/pads, light cardboard.  Note: Documents are NOT automatically shredded in the ordinary sorting and baling process

Shredding Appointments

Accepted curbside or at any Emmet County Drop-off Recycling Site in the Paper, Boxes and Bags bin.


Recycle Paper Bags


  • Brown Paper Grocery Bags
  • Shopping Bags
  • Bread Bags
  • Pharmacy Bags
  • Gift Bags*

But NO:

Waxy bakery bags


  • *Gift bags with glitter and/or metallic inks or foils are NOT recyclable.
  • Plastic bags and plastic mailing envelopes (i.e. Tyvek, stretchy mail order) can be recycled in the Paper, Boxes and Bags too.  Help out your sort crew: please use one of your bags to bag up the rest.


Accepted curbside or at any Emmet County Recycling Drop Site in the Paper, Boxes and Bags bin.


Recycle Books


  • Hardcover books
  • Softcover books
  • Phone books
  • Board books (preschoolers’)

For Example*:
atlases, encyclopedias, guide books, manuals, notes books (remove paper from spiral bindings and discard spiral), picture books, text books

But NO:
spiral bindings



  • If you have large quantities of books to recycle curbside, please spread them out over several weeks so they don’t weigh down the tote or cart too badly.
  • Libraries and institutions:  If you have large numbers of books to recycle, please call 231-348-0640.  We’ll set up a convenient system for you to recycle them.  Large numbers of books at curbside or in the drop-site bins cause trouble on the sort line.  Thank you!


Recycle Juice Boxes, Milk Cartons, and Paper Cups

Check our COVID-19 Updates page  for up-to-date information on the status of our services and facilities.

Accepted At Arrow Blue


  • Aspetic beverage cartons: for example juices boxes, soup, and broth boxes,
  • Milk-type cartons (“gable top”). Some juice also comes packaged in these.
  •  Ice cream cartons
  • Paper cupscartons

For Example*:
aseptic cartons, beverage cartons, broth boxes, gable top cartons, Goldfish-cracker cartons, ice cream cartons, juice boxes, juice cartons, milk cartons, paper coffee cups, paper cups, soup boxes, Whopper malt-ball cartons, wine boxes

But NO:

  • NO juice pouches
  • NO Styrofoam, or paper cups coated with Styrofoam

Accepted curbside or at any Emmet County Drop-Off Recycling Site in the Containers bin.


Please rinse them out.  That’s it.

The cartons you recycle supply Great Lakes Tissue (GLT) in Cheboygan (in the former Proctor and Gamble plant on Main Street). Cartons are composed of three layers: an outer, printed plastic layer; a white middle layer made up of high quality paper; and an inner layer including plastic and sometimes aluminum. GLT uses a machine called a hydropulper to separate the paper from the plastic and/or aluminum. They produce napkins, paper towels, and facial tissues from the recovered paper. Great Lakes Tissue can use wine boxes, broth/soup cartons, paper cups and paper ice cream tubs, so you can recycle those, too!

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