Waste Guidelines & Excluded Materials
Totes and budget bags are for accepted household and business waste only.
DO NOT put yard waste, construction debris, hazardous waste, hot ashes, fire or any Excluded Materials in waste containers and bags.
Bag all loose, small material! Vacuum cleaner dust and debris, shredded paper, packing peanuts, ashes, kitty litter, animal waste, sawdust, insulation and similar small, loose materials make a terrible mess when they are placed directly into totes.
Keep tote and container lids closed. Do not overfill.
Break or bend long items like broom handles and curtain rods until they fit in your closed container, or bring them to a Disposal Center.
Trash totes and budget bags must be placed at the curb by 6 am on collection day in order to guarantee pick up.
Place totes with the id number / lid opening / bar facing the street so we can dump them.
Leave space between trash and recycling totes and containers and other items. Our trucks’ powered forks need room to grab and dump containers, or they knock over nearby containers and make a mess.
Totes, bags and containers must be accessible to our trucks, with snow, vehicles and other obstacles cleared.
To protect our environment, Michigan law restricts the types of waste that can go into landfills. The following items require special disposal—do not put them in trash totes, budget bags or dumpster/roll-off containers.
Use the RecycleSmart Directory for excluded material disposal options in Grand Traverse County, and the Michigan Recycling Directory for options throughout Michigan. You can also call us at 231-943-8088 or Chat Live with a Customer Service Rep for more information.
All batteries need special disposal, especially lithium batteries, which frequently cause fires in garbage and recycling trucks and in recycling centers. Please take special care not to place lithium, AA, AAA, C, D, 9V, rechargeable, motor vehicle or tool batteries in your trash or recycling bins or bags. Check the Grand Traverse and Michigan directories for options in your area, save them for Community Cleanup Days, or return them to participating retailers.
OIL, GAS, solvents, adhesives & CLEANING PRODUCTS
Cleaning fluids like bleach and shower cleaner, auto fluids like gas and oil, solvents, adhesives and pesticides are considered common hazardous waste and need special disposal. Substances that contain volatile chemicals that can catch fire, react or explode, or that are corrosive or toxic cannot go in Michigan landfills. Find a program or business that accepts the material by checking the Grand Traverse and Michigan directories, or save them for Community Cleanup Days. Oil can be returned to participating oil change locations and auto supply stores.
PCBs & Fluorescent lights
Fluorescent lights and other materials that contain PCBs need special handling. Check the Grand Traverse and Michigan directories for options in your area, save them for Community Cleanup Days, or return them to participating retailers.
appliances containing freon
Refrigerators, air conditioners and other appliances containing freon need special handling. American Waste can accept freon-based appliances curbside and at Disposal Centers if a service technician removes the freon and tags the appliance noting that “FREON HAS BEEN REMOVED.” If your appliance still contains freon, check the Grand Traverse and Michigan directories for options in your area or save them for Community Cleanup Days.
Latex Paint & Stain
Latex paints and stains can also be dried, and their containers recycled or disposed. Small amounts of latex (less than 1/2 inch) can be dried by air in a safe location away from children and pets. Larger amounts of latex can be dried in a box with absorbent material like shredded paper, sand, sawdust or kitty litter. Recycle empty cans with the lids off. Dispose of dried latex paint or stain in the trash. If paint or stain in a can is solidified all the way through, it can be disposed of as garbage with the lid off, which prevents buildup of pressure in the can.
OIL-BASED Paint & Stain
Oil-based (alkyd) paints and stains can be taken to Community Cleanup Days, or brought to special locations in your area—check the Grand Traverse and Michigan directories for options. It is not considered safe to air dry oil-based paint and stain. Even after they have been dry for some time, some paints and stains can permeate pollutants into the air.
Yard waste is a fire hazard when placed in garbage or recycling trucks, so it requires special handling. Visit our Yard Waste page for more information on disposal of leaves, grass clippings, vegetables and other garden debris, and shrubbery/brush/tree trimmings less than 4 feet in length and 2 inches in diameter.
Construction & Demolition Materials
Some materials generated by construction and demolition projects are toxic or classified as hazardous waste including painted, stained or treated wood. Paint can be planed off wood surfaces so the remaining wood can be reused or recycled. Removed paint can be taken to Community Cleanup Days, or brought to special locations in your area—check the Grand Traverse and Michigan directories for options.
ASBESTOS & lead paint
Older household materials like ceiling and floor tiles and insulation may contain asbestos and lead-based paint. Homeowners can legally remove asbestos and lead-based paint from their residences, but precautions need to be taken and the waste must go to a licensed disposal site. Special labeling and packaging requirements also apply. Asbestos and lead paint abatement is required by law prior to any demolition activities. Our affiliate Northern A-1 Environmental Services provides hazardous waste remediation and disposal services—visit their website or call 231-258-9961.
Sharps are medical devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut skin, like needles, syringes, lancets, auto injectors and infusion sets. Sharps must be safely disposed of in FDA-approved sharps containers or rigid plastic containers sealed with duct tape and labeled Sharps—Do Not Recycle. Take the containers to a sharps disposal program in your area. Never, ever dispose of sharps-filled plastic containers with your recyclables. For more information, visit the Safe Needle Disposal website.
Radioactive, Hazardous & industrial Waste
Hazardous waste and waste that measures as radioactive, including waste produced by industrial processes and Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM), require professional handling. The experts at our affiliate Northern A-1 Environmental Services provide NORM and hazardous waste remediation and disposal services and can help with any hazardous material you may encounter. Call Northern A-1 at 231-258-9961, send an email, or visit their website for more information.