How to recycle in Chicago

CHICAGO After years of blue bag recycling, the city is now only offering Blue Cart recycling in residential areas.

Blue Cart Program: If you live in an area where the Blue Cart program is offered, the carts will be delivered to your curb or alley before the start of recycling pick-up. You can begin placing your recyclables in the cart as soon as you receive it. The city's website and 311 will have a list of the pick-up schedule for each neighborhood.

How to Dispose of Household Chemicals, Computers

Help properly dispose of household chemicals and old computers by dropping off these materials at the City's permanent Household Chemicals and Computer Recycling Facility.

Accepted items, to name a few, include household chemicals, oil-based paints, solvents, cell phones, compact fluorescent light bulbs computers and related equipment. The facility does NOT accept business/commercial sector wastes, explosives and fireworks. See complete lists of accepted and not accepted items. Review the list of convenient locations throughout the city to recycle your batteries.

As electronic equipment becomes more affordable, households are acquiring increasing numbers of electronic devices. Common household electronics include computers, televisions, VCRs, audio equipment, cellular telephones and cordless telephones.

Household electronics often contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). When electronics are disposed of in the waste stream (for example, when they are thrown out with other garbage), these hazardous materials can contaminate the air, soil and water. When electronics are recycled, however, they are disassembled and any hazardous materials they contain are reprocessed and reused in an environmentally-responsible manner.

DOE holds at least three electronic recycling ("e-cycling") neighborhood events annually to collect, reuse when possible and recycle household electronics. In addition to the neighborhood events, DOE operates the recently inaugurated Computer Recycling Center. Households are welcome to bring unwanted, unused or obsolete computers, and computer peripherals and cell and cordless phones-for reuse and recycling. Commercial and industrial electronics, as well as larger household electronics, such as air conditioners, dehumidifiers and large home appliances, are not accepted at these events.

Special neighborhood collection days give you additional opportunities to drop off items, including unused or expired prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, and outmoded lawnmowers and gas cans.

Location: 1150 N. North Branch Street (two blocks east of the Kennedy Expressway at Division Street)

Hours (open year-round):

  • Tuesday (7:00 am - 12:00 pm)
  • Thursday (2:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
  • First Saturday of every month (8:00am - 3:00pm
  • The Household Chemicals and Computer Recycling Facility is operated by the City of Chicago and is partially funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

    Recycling Tips
    From the city of Chicago website,

    Recycle at home, work and play

    • Pick up free blue bags at the checkout counters at Walgreens, Dominick's and Whole Foods Market.
    Be smart with hazardous waste
    • Keep household hazardous waste out of the landfill by participating in City of Chicago sponsored collection events.
    Reduce waste
    • Remove your name from junk mail lists by calling: DMA Mail Preference Service at 1-888-5optout or going to
    • Leave grass clippings on your lawn or create a compost bin.
    • Reduce disposable items by using canvas shopping bags, silverware and ceramic coffee mugs.
    • Buy recycled products.
    • Use rechargeable batteries.
    • Donate old clothes to local donation centers.
    Recycling facts
    • Every year, Americans throw away enough paper to build a 12 ft. wall from New York to Los Angeles.
    • Recycling one tin can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.
    • Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours.
    • Packaging, such as cereal boxes, accounts for more than 30 percent of your garbage.
    • Producing recycled paper takes half the energy and creates half the air and water pollution than producing virgin paper (paper made directly from trees).
    • Recycling, including composting diverted 68 million tons of material from landfills and incinerators in 2001, up from 34 million tons in 1990.
    Find out what you need to know to participate in the programs:

    City of Chicago Recycling Information

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