Go Green! has become almost a sports-fan type of rallying cry in our society. Recycling is just one of the ways we partner with our customers to contribute to a “greener” environment. Putting our commitment to environmental stewardship into practice began in earnest in 1990 with recycling 40 tons each day.
Today, we collect and process recyclables from over 30 communities and our Diversified Recycling Material Recovery Facility handles more than 600 tons per day.
The Results of Your Recycling
Each week you’re careful to recycle what you can and what our facility is able to accept. But what exactly happens to the paper, cardboard, glass bottles and jars, plastic containers, tin and aluminum cans you toss in your bin? All of the material collected is sorted by type through a series of screens, hand sorters, and optical sorting machines at our state-of-the-art Material Recovery Facility. Huge bales of material are then picked up or transported to various companies to be made into everything from new paper to new carpet.
Businesses can also participate in recycling through our WeSort recycling program.
What Can I Recycle at Home?
Check if your everyday jars, jugs, tubs and containers are recyclable in your curbside recycling cart.
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!
ENVELOPES – YES
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.
SHREDDED PAPER – NO
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.
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.
WRAPPING PAPER – YES
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!
BROWN PAPER BAGS – YES
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
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 OR SOILED CARDBOARD – NO
Wet, greasy or food soiled cardboard is not accepted. Contaminated cardboard can also degrade the rest of the “clean” cardboard.
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
FOAM EGG CARTONS – NO
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.
JUICE POUCHES – NO
Unfortunately, some other types of juice packaging, like plastic pouches, are not recyclable.
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.
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 CONTAINERS – YES
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.
PRESCRIPTION BOTTLES – NO
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.
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 – NO
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.
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.
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 / INK CARTRIDGES – NO
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.