These Things Are Illegal to Throw Away in Michigan

Michigan is renowned for its picturesque lakes, forests, and wildlife. However, it’s crucial to be aware of items that must not be discarded in the state. These objects could be environmentally harmful, pose health risks, or have recycling value. Inappropriately disposing of them may result in legal consequences, including fines or imprisonment. Here’s a list of prohibited items in Michigan and how to dispose of them safely and responsibly.

Yard Waste

Yard waste, encompassing leaves, grass clippings, branches, and other organic materials from lawns or gardens, may seem harmless and biodegradable. However, they can cause issues in landfills, contributing to space consumption, methane gas production, and groundwater contamination. Michigan prohibited yard waste from landfills in 1995.

Instead of discarding yard waste, multiple disposal options exist. Composting at home or local facilities transforms it into nutrient-rich soil. Alternatively, using yard waste bags or containers for curbside collection by municipalities or waste haulers is an option. Some areas provide drop-off sites or seasonal pickups for yard waste, with rules and schedules available through local authorities.

Beverage Containers

Beverage containers like bottles and cans holding soft drinks, beer, water, and other drinks fall under Michigan’s bottle deposit law. A 10-cent deposit per container encourages returning them to stores or redemption centers for recycling, reducing litter, saving energy, and conserving resources. Disposing of containers with deposit value in Michigan is illegal, leading to potential fines of up to $1,000.

Avoid throwing beverage containers in the trash; instead, return them to the store or a redemption center for a refund. Containers without a deposit value, like juice boxes or milk jugs, can be recycled through household recycling or local programs.

Lead Acid Batteries

Lead acid batteries, powering vehicles like cars, trucks, motorcycles, or boats, contain toxic lead and sulfuric acid. Discarding these batteries violates Michigan law, as they are not allowed in landfills or incinerators. Recycling these batteries prevents chemical exposure, protects public health, and recovers valuable materials.

Recycle lead acid batteries at retailers offering credit or rebates for old batteries. Alternatively, visit recycling centers, scrap metal dealers, or hazardous waste collection sites.

Old Tires

Worn-out, damaged, or unfit vehicle tires, known as old tires, can cause environmental issues if improperly discarded. Banned from landfills since 1991 in Michigan, whole tires take up space, create fire hazards, and release toxic chemicals.

Instead of disposing of old tires, consider recycling them for use in products like rubber mulch, playground surfaces, or asphalt. Reusing tires for planters, swings, or art projects is another option. Some landfills may accept cut, shredded, or chipped tires for a fee. Tire retailers, scrap tire processors, or collection events are additional disposal avenues, with specific rules and fees determined by local authorities.


Asbestos, a mineral widely used in building materials until the 1970s, poses serious health risks when its fibers are inhaled. Discarding asbestos-containing materials not only endangers health but also violates Michigan’s stringent regulations on waste handling and disposal.

To dispose of asbestos-containing materials, hiring a licensed asbestos abatement contractor is recommended for safe removal and disposal. For those opting to handle it personally, adherence to proper procedures, including protective gear, work area sealing, wetting materials, and labeling bags or containers, is essential. Authorized landfills or transfer stations accepting asbestos waste must be used, with authorities notified and associated fees paid.


These items are illegal to throw away in Michigan. Adhering to laws and regulations not only avoids legal issues but also contributes to a cleaner environment and community. Remember, alternatives such as reducing, reusing, recycling, composting, donating, selling, or giving away items exist. By adopting these practices, you contribute to saving money, resources, and space, making Michigan a cleaner and greener place to live.

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