Zero Waste

Waste is not a basic principal, like gravity. Waste doesn’t exist in nature — all resources are reused.
According to the Grassroots Recycling Network (, zero waste offers a valid policy
direction, just like setting a goal for “zero workplace injuries” or “zero recalls” of products. GRRN
poses the challenge. If you are not for zero waste, how much waste are you for? Instead of spending
money to haul and bury/burn waste, we can be smarter and redesign products for reuse.

Waste doesn't exist in nature.
Cut down on what you use and
try to use recycled products.


Use refillable water bottles and take
your refillable mug to the coffee
shop. Print on both sides of paper
or use the backside of documents
for scratch paper. Bring your own
bags when shopping. Buy items in
bulk with less packaging. Reducing
waste adds up. Recycling a grocery
bag saves about half the energy and
pollution required to make a new,
recycled-content bag. But reusing a
bag offers an even better "no carbon
footprint" option.
Lightly-used items are available
at The ReUse Center at 2420
S. Industrial Hwy. or online at or
Many local reuse stores and
nonprofits are posted at in the
Trash to Treasures directory.
Apartment furnishings are available
at a fraction of the original cost.
Use A2's free recycling pickup
service available to all apartments,
homes, and businesses in town.
Look for recycling storage bins for
mixed papers, flattened cardboard,
and containers (empty cans, glass,
milk cartons, and plastic bottles
marked #1/PET and #2/HDPE).
Details at or by
calling the local nonprofit Recycle
Ann Arbor at 734.662.6288.

What Can Be Recycled

Recycling Infographic

Most electronics contain toxic materials.
Don't throw them in the trash. Here is what
you can do with them.

Computers and TVs
Computers? TVs?
Don’t trash computer monitors and TVs. CRT (cathode ray tube)
monitors each contain heavy metals and 3-8 pounds of lead—both
are known carcinogens and neurotoxins. Flat screen monitors also
have toxic components. Did you know that it is illegal in Ann Arbor to
throw oldcomputers and TVs into the trash? This is because the
crushed monitors can potentially leak these compounds into the air
or groundwater.

Many manufacturers—like IBM, HP, and Apple—offer recycling options
when you purchase a new computer. Check at the store or online.

The Drop-Off Station fully recycles most electronics and laptop
computers at no charge. Computer monitors have a $15 recycling
fee; recycling larger television monitors may cost more. 2950 E.
Ellsworth Rd, 734.971.7400, Other area
recycling options are posted at and nationwide
programs at

Michigan passed a law requiring that by April 2010, all computer
stores are required to take back the equipment they sell for full
recycling. Details at for Senate Bills
897-898 and House Bills 6714-6715.

An Easy Call
An Easy Call
An easy call—cell phone recycling!
Reusing cell phones conserves
resources, saves energy, and
reduces pollution. Remanufactured
cell phones also provide vital
communications throughout the
world. Most phone stores and electronics recycling locations
take back phones for recycling.
Many charities coordinate cell
phone drives.

The Life of a Cell Phone

Cell Phone Infographic

Toxic Products vs. Non-Toxic Products

Choose less toxic products. Those “danger, caution, skull-and-crossbones” warnings
on packages should give you pause when reaching for cleansers and paints. Many
safer products or procedures are available that don’t have to have a premium “green”
price tag. Here are some suggestions:
- Baking Soda has 101 uses around the apartment when teamed up with a sponge
and water to clean sinks, tubs, and refrigerators. Use it dry to extinguish grease fires.
- Vinegar removes mildew; polishes metals; cleans coffeepots, glass, and tiles; and
  when mixed 50/50 with baking soda is able to clear clogged drains. (Remember grade
  school volcano experiments?)
- Try denture tabs for cleaning toilets. Bubble stains away and leave the bowl minty fresh!
  Additional ideas are posted on the web at