The System

Mackinac Island uses a system of waste separation which divides compostable materials and recyclables from items headed to the landfill off island. The more the program is followed by our customers, the more money you will save.

While landfill destined materials are shipped off the Island to a mainland landfill, compostable materials are shredded and mixed with horse manure, street sweepings, and food slop to create quality compost. This compost is then resold to the public for use as topsoil, garden material, or fill. Recyclables are bailed and sold to off-Island purchasers. Glass is ground into a sand-like material which is reused in pipe bedding, concrete mixes, and asphalt patching.

This system uses color coded bags, sold through the DPW office at City Hall on Market St. These bags are black for landfill materials (most expensive), green for compostables (less expensive), and clear for yard waste (cheapest). Recyclables are also collected from DPW provided blue bins (free.) All bags used MUST be purchased from the DPW and have the correct label printed on the bag. The more you recycle and compost, the more you save.

Schedules for trash and recycling pickup can be found on the local access cable channel, or by calling the Mackinac Island Service Company at 847-3713. Recycling may be rejected if it is not clean. Bags may be rejected if not City purchased, or filled with inappropriate materials.


Recyclable materials include:

Magazines, Catalogs, Corrugated Cardboard (No Food Contaminated Cardboard)

Newspapers (Placed in Clear Plastic Bags, Paper Bag, Bundled and Tied, or Boxed)

#1 Plastic Containers (#1 PETE – Mouth must be smaller than container) – Remove caps and place in trash – No Cooking Oil Containers

#2 Plastic Containers (#2 HDPE – No Butter Tubs or Wide Mouth Containers) – Remove caps and place in trash

Styrofoam (Food Grade Only– Rinsed and Cleaned)

All bottle and jar glass

Tin Cans (Washed and Rinsed)

Aluminum (Washed and Rinsed)


Fluorescent Light Bulbs (Placed in Original Box if Possible)

Printer Cartridges

Acceptable Compost

The following list of examples of compostable items accepted in compost bags.

Cereal Boxes (No Liners)

Computer Paper

Food Packaging Paper (Butcher)

Food Scraps

Coffee Grounds and Filters

Tea Bags

Fruit and Vegetable Peelings

Egg Shells

Cardboard Egg Cartons

Cake Mix Boxes (No Liners)

Plain Paper Bags

Scrap Paper

Envelopes (No Plastic Windows)

Tissues and Napkins

Waxed Paper

Paper Plates

Paper Milk Cartons

Wooden Toothpicks

Phone Books

Paper Back Books

Thin Walled Cardboard Cartons for Soft Drinks and Beer

Cat Food Bags (Check between liners for plastic)

Dog Food Bags (Check between liners for plastic)

Horse Feed Bags (Check between liners for plastic)

Paper and Cardboard vacuum cleaner bags

Manila Folders

Pizza Boxes

No plastic garbage bags should be placed inside compost bags.

Yard and Garden Waste

Place in plain plastic bag.  No non-compostable products should be placed in these containers.