Recycling in the City of Grand Rapids can be a bit confusing. Those of us who have lived here for a long time pretty much have it down, but it can cause some head-scratching for those who aren't used to it.

Back in 2020, the city sent around "inspectors" to go through recycling bins to check for materials that can not be recycled. If they found something in your bin, they'd put a sticker on your bin letting them know what they'd found.

Now, the city is embarking on a similar program, but this time they're using technology.

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In a Facebook post, the City of Grand Rapids announced that they are partnering with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, The Recycling Partnership, and Prairie Robotics for a "groundbreaking" pilot program.

What Is the City of Grand Rapids' New Recycling Pilot Program?

The basic gist of the program is this: for six months, city recycling trucks will be equipped with some new tech - cameras, GPS, and computers. Those things will scan the contents of your bin in real time and will flag anything that is found that should not be recycled.

Now, if they find something, that doesn't necessarily mean that they won't accept your bin, but, you will receive a postcard in the mail that will spell out what was found in your bin that was flagged. The postcard will also explain to you what can and can not be recycled in the city.

What Can Be Recycled in City Bins in Grand Rapids, Michigan?

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If you're an avid recycler like me, it's important to know what can go in your recycling bin. And the list is pretty expansive.

The following items are acceptable:

  • Glass bottles and jars.
  • Cardboard.
  • Metal Cans, bottles, and aluminum foil (if it's clean).
  • Plastic bottles and containers.
  • Cartons.
  • Paper.

Any and all boxes, bottles, jars, cans, etc. should be empty, clean, and should not be bagged.

What Can Not Be Recycled in City Bins in Grand Rapids, Michigan?

Basically, anything that isn't listed above. But, the city points out, specifically, the following.

  • Plastic bags.
  • Plastic wrap.
  • Tanglers.
  • Cords.
  • Hoses.
  • Chains.
  • Food.
  • Liquid.
  • Yard waste.
  • Styrofoam.

READ MORE: Grand Rapids Ranked Among Ten Best Cities to Visit in the Country

Again, it's important to note that the items that are in your recycling bin should not be bagged. All items should be loose in the bin.

Recycling services are free to anyone who lives in the City of Grand Rapids. You can request your free recycling bin here.

Did You Know: These Items Can't Be Recycled Curbside Here In Michigan

While almost all of the items on the list could be recycled, you can't place them in the bin at the end of your street. See which those are, here.