Following in the footsteps of Emmet County Recycling—a wildly successful, innovative, Northern Michigan eco-friendly all-star—here are 5 ways to create your own culture of recycling at home.

This is a web original article from the team at MyNorth Media and Traverse Northern Michigan. Want to read recent print stories? View our print subscription and digital subscription options and have Traverse delivered to your door or inbox each month.

1. Don’t assume it’s not recyclable. Emmet County has shown that items like mattresses, shingles, laptops and boat wrap can, in fact, be recycled. Find out where to recycle these items in your area. Some local resources include Bay Area Recycling for Charities (BARC) and eRecycle TC.

2. Composting doesn’t have to be complicated. Composting takes commitment, but this product makes it easy. The Lomi Composter by Pela Earth fits in any kitchen, is odor free and keeps food waste out of landfills.

Recycling conveyor belt

Photo by Dave Weidner

Recycling cans piled up

Photo by Dave Weidner

3. Try zero-waste grocery shopping. In Traverse City, The Refillery offers bulk personal care and household cleaning products (bring your own container to refill or purchase one of theirs). Oryana sells bulk grains, granola, rice, peanut butter and more. Litterless is a fabulous online resource to find low- and zero-waste grocery stores across the state of Michigan.

4. Is your morning coffee hurting Earth? Paper cups at coffee shops aren’t great. Travel mugs are better, but even those have a shelf life and get thrown away at some point. How about using a glass jar instead? In Traverse City, Hexenbelle encourages reusable cups and actually only serves its cold brew in them.

5. Clean up your mess. The stats about paper towels are nuts—they’re awful for the planet. Grove Collaborative recommends these eco-friendly paper towel products.

Check out the November issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine for more about Emmet County Recycling’s environmental wins.

Photo(s) by Dave Weidner