LIVING SUSTAINABLY: Living Sustainably program will sort out recycling questions

By Michelle Gibbs, Office of Sustainability
Quick quiz: Which of these items can you recycle in Holland’s yellow curbside recycling bags?

  1. Plastic milk carton
  2. Paper milk carton
  3. Paper
  4. Junk mail
  5. Styrofoam cups
  6. Plastic bags
  7. Cereal boxes
    Think you know?
    The answers may surprise you.
    For example, while plastic milk cartons can be recycled at the city of Holland’s waste hauler Republic Services, lids cannot. Neither can paper milk cartons (although third-party recyclers such as TerraCycle can). For the rest of the answers, keep reading.
    Want to know more about what can and cannot be recycled in the City of Holland? “Stump Our Recycling Chumps!” is coming to Herrick District Library – and Facebook Live – in the next Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore presentation. The public is encouraged to bring their toughest recycling questions to see if they can stump Holland’s local experts.
    The recycling initiatives and sorting practices of Republic, the new city-wide waste hauler will also be discussed.
    The evening will kick off with a short presentation on the new waste-hauling contract between the city of Holland and Republic as well as about new international rules and how they impact people locally.
    Then it will be time for members of the in-person and online audiences to “stump our recycling chumps.”
    The panel of “chumps” will be:
    Aaron Thelenwood – City of Holland solid waste/recycling and sustainability coordinator;
    Ken Freestone, Angela Fox and Dan Boersma – co-founders of;
    Tom Mahoney – Republic Services general manager.
    And now the answers to the quiz: What can be recycled in the city of Holland’s curbside program?
    Paper, junk mail and cereal boxes are all OK! Styrofoam cups and plastic bags don’t belong in the city’s yellow recycling bags, although many grocery stores accept the grocery bags for recycling.
    Want to know more?
    Stump Our Recycling Chumps!, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, will have all the answers. Participate in person or on Facebook, where the event will live stream over the Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore Facebook page.
    This event also is part of Holland’s annual participation in the “America Recycles Day.” Go to to learn more. And go to for more about City of Holland recycling.
     Michelle Gibbs is director of the Office of Sustainability at Hope College and director of Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Community Knowledge: The collective knowledge and energy of the community is an incredible resource that must be channeled to where it is needed.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.