Plastic Pollution Solution

The Plastic Pollution Solution is a program of Recycle Ann Arbor in partnership with the Washtenaw County Food Policy Council that launched on July 3rd, 2018– International Plastic Bag Free Day.

Plastic is everywhere and unfortunately that includes the environment, too. Single-use plastics exacerbate plastic pollution, which is why we created this campaign to give you the resources to reduce plastic use first and foremost, to reuse the plastic you do have, and to properly recycle any plastic that is no longer able to be reused.

The goals of the Plastic Pollution Solution campaign are to: 





This campaign's current focus is on single-use plastic bags and other similar soft plastics because they are not only contaminating the environment but also our single-stream curbside recycling system. Plastic bags and other flexible plastics pose a serious problem within our curbside recycling system, creating contamination and damaging the recycling sorting equipment. In a changing recycling landscape that faces mounting obstacles, having clean, uncontaminated recyclables are crucial to future success. By providing resources to reduce, reuse, and properly recycle soft plastics, we hope to decrease the level of soft plastic contamination that we are currently seeing in our curbside collection program. 

In an effort to reduce plastic bag waste and encourage consumer reuse, Washtenaw County adopted Michigan's first single-use carryout bag ordinance in June 2016. The ordinance called for a 10-cent eco-fee for each disposable bag (plastic and paper) distributed. Washtenaw County's ordinance was scheduled to go into effect on Earth Day (April 22) 2017. However, in December 2016, the State of Michigan approved Public Act 389, which preempts local Michigan communities from regulating the use or distribution of all "auxiliary containers", including plastic bags and any other carryout container. In lieu of implementing policy to address the single-use plastic bag problem, we have created this voluntary campaign because we know how important this issue is to our community.

Reduce & Reuse Single-Use Plastics

Single-use disposable items have become increasingly popular because of their convenience, but that doesn't mean reusable alternatives are inconvenient - they just take getting used to! Try making one change at a time, such as getting a reusable water bottle, and once that becomes comfortable try another one, such as a reusable shopping bag. Over time you can phase out single-use plastics from your lifestyle, which will help conserve natural resources and protect the environment from plastic pollution. 

Transitioning away from single-use plastics is a process. Be patient - changing a habit doesn't happen overnight and just because you're ditching single-use plastics doesn't mean the rest of the world is (yet!). You may inadvertently get those pesky plastics in your life, whether someone gave you something in a plastic bag or you forgot your reusable water bottle that day. No need to despair! There are many ways to reuse those items to make the most use out of the resources extracted from the planet.

Properly Recycle Soft Plastics

Recycle Ann Arbor is facilitating the development of a diverse network of drop off locations collecting plastic bags and other soft, flexible plastics to ensure that they are recycled properly and do not end up in the landfill or worse, as pollution in our waterways. The soft plastics we receive will be recycled by our partner, Trex, to be made into composite lumber. Our hope is that as people collect their soft plastics for recycling they will work towards identifying alternatives to those items and eventually completely phase out their single-use plastics.

Look for the green bins (see image below) at participating public collection locations:


PPS CollectionBin CleanDrySoftPlastics





Get Involved

If you are interested in becoming a drop off collection location within the Plastic Pollution Solution network in 2019, fill out this form.