What Can I Recycle at Home?

Check if your everyday jars, jugs, tubs and containers are recyclable in your curbside recycling cart.

recycle paper

Paper and Fiber

Paper and Fiber
It takes about 20 trees to make one ton of paper.  Save some trees and recycle!  This includes newspaper, newspaper inserts, sale papers, catalogs, etc.   Don’t forget, that plastic bag your newspaper came in should be thrown in the trash.  See Plastic Bags.OFFICE PAPER   –  YES  
Have a mountain of paper on your desk?  Recycle it!  This includes envelopes, file folders, copy paper, glossy paper and post-it notes.  Don’t worry about removing the staples; they can be left on!

Big or small, we take them all.  Don’t bother removing labels or those plastic windows (found mostly on bills), just go ahead and throw them in your recycle bin or cart.

On its own, shredded paper is a great recyclable product.  However, once you mix it in with all of your other material, it becomes non-recyclable.  Because of its small size, shredded paper often gets mixed in with the small pieces of glass and we are unable to retrieve it.   If you have a large amount on a consistent basis, please contact us for solutions.

More Paper and Fiber
Paper comes in all shapes and sizes.   When recycled, your glossy magazines turn into toilet paper and tissue.BOOKS   –  YES
Avid book reader?  Go ahead and recycle your paperback books (this includes phone books).  For those hard covered ones, take the cover off, throw it in the trash and recycle the middle pages.  You may also want to consider donating old books.

Birthday paper, holiday paper, weddings and baby showers, we see all sorts of wrapping paper.   The majority of this material can be recycled. However, if you have a shiny “foil” type wrapping paper, please throw that in the trash.  Our paper recyclers don’t like it!

Paper grocery bags and brown lunch bags, as long as they are free of food waste, can be placed in your recycle bin or cart.

Cardboard and Paperboard

Cardboard Boxes
For the larger boxes, please flatten them in put them in your recycle container.  If there is not enough room, you can place them directly next to your container for pickup.CEREAL BOXES   –  YES
Cereal boxes, cake mix boxes, cases of pop and similar cardboard items are all recyclable. Remember to remove any plastic bags found inside the box and throw them in the garbage.

Wet, greasy or food soiled cardboard is not accepted. Contaminated cardboard can also degrade the rest of the “clean” cardboard.

Pizza Boxes
This may come as a surprise, but pizza boxes are not recyclable.  While you may finish off a large pizza in no time, the grease from that pizza stays on the box forever, making the cardboard non-recyclable.  In fact, greasy pizza boxes can ruin an entire load of clean cardboard if placed in your recycle bin.    You can, however, rip off any clean section of the box and recycle it while throwing the grease stained areas in the garbage.

Metal Containers

TIN / STEEL CANS   –  YES         
Coffee cans, soup cans, vegetable cans and their lids are all recyclable.   Don’t worry about the label; you can leave that on.  Please be sure to gently rinse your cans before placing them in your recycle bin or cart.ALUMINUM CANS   –  YES
Aluminum cans are 100% recyclable and should definitely be placed in your recycle bin or cart.  Because we generate large amounts of aluminum cans, it only takes about 6 weeks for your can to be recycled and back on the shelf.  Don’t forget to gently rinse your cans!

Other Metal Containers
Trays and pie tins are just as recyclable as aluminum cans.  These items often contain more food waste, so we do ask that you gently rinse them off before putting them in your recycle container.AEROSOL CANS   –  NO    
Aerosol cans pose a serious threat to garbage collectors, sorting facilities and landfills.  Because of this, they are not accepted as part of our garbage or recycle program.  In fact, they are considered a hazardous material and should be treated as such.  Visit our Hard to Handle section for disposal options.


Glass Bottles and Jars
Glass containers for food and beverages are 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality.  Lids and labels can stay on, just make sure you gently rinse the containers before placing on your recycle cart or bin.
Other Glass
Mirrors, window glass, dinnerware, drinkware and ceramics are all made from glass, however, these materials are made differently than food and beverage containers.  In fact, if any of this type of glass gets mixed in with the glass containers, it could cause problems in the recycling process.  Please do not throw this material in your recycle bin. Instead, throw it in with your regular garbage.LIGHT BULBS   –  NO              
CFL and other light bulbs often break when thrown into a garbage or recycle bin releasing dangerous mercury into the environment.   While they are not part of your curbside program, there are other options for bulb recycling. Many local home improvement stores including Lowes, Home Depot, IKEA, True Value offer bulb recycling.   Check with your local store.


Cartons, made mostly from paper and a plastic lining are now accepted into our recycling program.  This includes cartons found both on the shelf and the refrigerated section of the grocery store.   Juice cartons, milk cartons, soup and broth cartons, wine and cream cartons are all recyclable.  Gently rinse your cartons before placing them in your container.CARDBOARD EGG CARTONS   –  YES     
Are egg cartons recyclable?   Yes and No.  Egg cartons made from paper / cardboard are accepted in our recycle program.  However, egg cartons made from polystrene (foam) are not.


Juice Boxes and Ice Cream Cartons
JUICE BOXES   –  YES                 
Juice boxes made from paper material fall under our carton category and are considered recyclable.  Don’t forget to remove the straw because we cannot recycle them. These should either be placed in your garbage container or recycled through programs like Terracycle.ICE CREAM CARTONS    –  NO   
Just finish off that gallon of ice cream and want to hide the evidence?  Throw it in your garbage container.  Ice cream cartons are made to withstand the elements of your freezer.  Unfortunately, the material used to do this makes recycling impossible.

Unfortunately, some other types of juice packaging, like plastic pouches, are not recyclable.


Bubble Wrap / Packaging Peanuts
Bubble wrap and packing peanuts are considered “film plastic” and our recycling facility does not like them.  Film plastics are very hard to sort out and there aren’t many places willing to take the material and recycle it.  The best option, other than throwing it in with your garbage, is to bring it to a local shipping store like FedEx or UPS, but please call them first to see what they will accept.PACKING PEANUTS   –  NO
Film plastics are very hard to sort out and there aren’t many places willing to take the material and recycle it.

Other Packaging
This material comes in many forms; cd and dvd cases, packing material, trays, plastic cups, plastic silverware and styrofoam; all of which are very difficult to recycle.   Please put these items in your household garbage container.HARD PLASTIC PACKAGING   –  NO                
Isn’t it the worst!?  You get a new toy or gift and it’s sealed in one of those impossible to open plastic packages!  We don’t like them here at our recycling facility either.  Go ahead and throw those in the garbage.


Water bottles, pop bottles, juice bottles, soap bottles, coffee creamer bottles, cooking oil bottles, household cleaner bottles, milk and juice jugs, yogurt containers, butter containers, sour cream containers, etc. we will take them all!  Just remember to remove the spray nozzles (triggers) from household cleaners and throw them in the garbage.    Please remember to gently rinse your containers and secure the lids back on!5 GALLON BUCKETS   –  YES            
Plastic five gallon buckets are acceptable in our recycle center but please nothing larger!

Takeout (non-styrofoam) or reusable containers are ok to recycle.  However, any black trays that your food comes in must be placed in your garbage as our machines have a hard time sorting them.

While they are considered a plastic container, because of their size, prescription bottles are not currently accepted as part of our curbside recycling program.  Check with your local drugstore or pharmacy to see if they have a take-back program.

More Plastics
While they often carry the recycling symbol, plastic bags and other film plastic wreak havoc on our sorting equipment and they are not welcome at our facility.  This includes plastic grocery bags, plastic bread bags, plastic wrap, snack bags (chips, fruit snacks, etc.), storage bags and flex packaging (baby food pouches, fruit pouches, juice drink pouches).   Many local grocery and department stores accept clean and dry grocery and bread bags in a receptacle at the front of the store.  Please do NOT place this material in your recycle bin.CLOTHES HANGERS   –  NO                       
Clothes hangers and recycling facilities don’t mix.  Please throw hangers in the garbage (this includes wood and wire hangers too).   Some department stores (like Kohls) and dry cleaners may accept them.

Motor oil containers (as long as they are empty) should be placed in the garbage.  While they are plastic containers, they are not-food grade plastics and aren’t easily recycled    If you have left over motor oil, please visit our Hard to Handle section for disposal options.

STRAWS   –  NO       
Because of their size, plastic straws often get mixed up in the wrong crowd (with the glass pieces) and we are unable to recover them.  Go ahead and put them in your garbage can.

Other Items

Other Materials
They may look like plastic, garden hoses are made of a variety of materials making them hard to sort.   They also pose a huge problem to our recycling facility and should be thrown in the garbage.ELECTRONIC WASTE   –  NO  
E-Waste has been banned from Illinois landfills and must not be put at the curb for pickup.  This includes TV’s, DVD players, game consoles, cell phones, computers, scanners, etc.  Many local electronics stores are required to take back this material to ensure it is properly recycled.  You can also check our Electronic Waste section for options.

HOUSEHOLD AND CAR BATTERIES   –  NO                        
Batteries contain heavy materials such as mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel which can contaminate the environment when they are improperly disposed of.   In landfills, these heavy metals have the potential to leach slowly into soil, groundwater or surface water.  Batteries should not be placed out for pickup.   Please check our Hard to Handle section for disposal options.

Other Materials
Food waste should be placed in your household garbage container for disposal.  You may also want to consider an at home composting bin, available at most local home improvement stores.WOOD   –  NO
Wood is not part of your curbside recycling program.  If you have large amounts of wood, you may want to consider renting a dumpster to remove it.

Toner and Ink Cartridges can be placed with your regular household garbage.  However, if you prefer to have them recycled, many local retailers, like Office Max, Office Depot, or Staples, offer discounts on new products in exchange for used ones.  Others offer refilling or recycling services.