Chicago Recycling for Everything

how to recycle in Chicago

If you have gone “green” in your home, you are likely a big fan of recycling and helping the environment by reducing waste. Moving to Chicago may mean that you have to get used to new surroundings, new routines, and even finding out new places to recycle. It turns out that Chicago actually have some extensive new rules on recycling, especially important to those that have made the decision to use cardboard moving boxes in their upcoming move. You’ll have to do something with all of that cardboard and you’re probably hoping to reduce waste at the landfills. Take a look at this Chicago recycling guide so that you know what expect when you move to the Windy City.

What cannot be recycled

To begin, it’s important to understand what items cannot be disposed of through the recycling program so that you don’t arrive and expect to be able to do so. If you planned to shred some documents and then recycle the shredded pieces, keep in mind that this cannot be done. In fact, many people make the mistake of putting paper in their blue bin like this and then find out the whole thing was taken as trash. You also cannot put plastic bags in your recycling, which means that those who try to put their recycling in plastic bags will end up with their recycling going to the trash.

You’ll also want to avoid recycling items like pizza boxes and coffee cups, those common treats you’ll likely enjoy on moving day. Watch out for Styrofoam, No. 6 plastic and potato chip or other snack bags. If you move in and find that you have clothing, toys, odd-shaped plastic like laundry baskets, garden hoses, electronics, or cables that you don’t know really need, make sure that you avoid trying to put any of this into your recycling bin.

The rules on things you can recycle

Now that you know what items to avoid recycling, you may be wondering the proper way to recycle things like paper bags, yard waste, plastic bottles, and plastic wrap. After that Starbucks coffee on moving day or bag of potato chips, be sure to throw these in the regular trash and switch to reusable solutions after you get settled. That plastic bottle of Coca Cola can be recycled as long as the cap is placed back on and the air is squeezed out before resealing it. If you used any Styrofoam or polystyrene products like cups, plates, or packing peanuts, make sure you throw those away and switch to reusable solutions when you get unpacked. Your pizza box can be recycled if it doesn’t have food or grease on it, which could be torn off and the rest recycled. Ordering a pizza and drinking bottled water can make moving day more fun and offer you recyclable solutions at the same time.

Once you’ve gotten settled and you’re looking for more ways to recycle, keep in mind a few other Chicago rules of the blue bins. Those plastic bottles from your cleaning closet can be recycled as long as you remove the nozzles or pumps and leave the plastic caps on. Plastic wrap can’t be recycled but your newspaper can be. Liquids cause items to be non-recyclable which means that you can usually recycle something if you’ve cleaned it out or let it dry. This means your milk or juice cartons are perfect for recycle as long as you swish some water in it first. Don’t bother with napkins, tissues or paper towels though; these items have shorter fibers that aren’t recyclable. After you’ve had your house-warming party, recycle your paper gift bags if they aren’t metallic and remove the handles first. Once you’ve done your first round of yardwork, you can call 311 to have the yard waste picked up.

While recycling is a wonderful way to help the environment, many people are choosing rent plastic moving crates to avoid a cardboard box mess. Consider working with the professionals at Chicago Green Box to rent your moving gear and save yourself from waste in landfills or recycling headaches.