ServicesSolid Waste and Recycling

The program protects the environment and conserves our resources by encouraging recycling and reducing improper disposal of hazardous waste, and enforces applicable local and state laws pertaining to solid waste.

The program encourages recycling in DeKalb County by providing information and consultation to individuals, businesses, municipalities, schools, and media regarding recycling and waste reduction.

The program sponsors collection events for difficult-to-dispose of wastes such as electronics, household batteries, compact fluorescent lamps and used motor oil.

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency- Find a Collection Location & Curbside Recycling Guide

Solid Waste Plans

Landfill Gas Development Overview

2020 Twenty Five Year Update

2017 Amendment to 2015 Plan Update (Table 14)
2015 Twenty Year Update
2010 Update only
2005 Update only
2000 Update only
1995 vol 2 Solid Waste Plan
1995 vol 2 Solid Waste Plan
1994 Solid Waste Needs Assessment

Solid Waste Annual Reports

Solid Waste Program Annual Report 2022

Solid Waste Program Annual Report 2021

Solid Waste Program Annual Report 2020

Solid Waste Program Annual Report 2019

Zero Waste Task Force Reports

Zero Waste Task Force County Board Resolution
Zero Waste Resolution
Zero Waste Task Force Report

Laws and Regulations

DeKalb County Code – Chapter 41- Solid Waste

Recycling A-Z

Adhesives

Glue, caulking compounds, epoxy resins, pastes, joint filers, wood putty, grout, spackling compounds, and rubber cement.

Water-based glues (white school glue) can be placed in the trash.

Epoxies and any adhesives that are flammable, poisonous, corrosive, or contain petroleum distillates should be brought to a household hazardous waste facility or a mobile household hazardous waste collection day. See “Hazardous Waste”. If the container is empty or the product is completely dry, it can be put in the trash.

Aerosol cans

Non-hazardous, EMPTY, and depressurized aerosol cans can be recycled with metal cans. See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs” and “Drop-Off Recycling Sites.”

  • Non-hazardous cans can be identified as those that are non-flammable, often food containers.
  • To depressurize hold the trigger until the can no longer makes a hissing noise.

Aerosol cans that are not empty should be treated as household hazardous waste and taken to a household hazardous waste facility or our household hazardous waste collection day, they can also be taken to an aerosol product event.

Air Conditioners

  1. Zimmerman Recycling:
    1. DeKalb: 301 Industrial Drive, DeKalb, IL 60115
    1. Contact: (815) 756-8600

Will remove freon for a fee*

  • DeKalb Iron & Metal, LLC
    • DeKalb: 900 Oak St, DeKalb, IL 60115
    • Contact: (815) 758-2458

Freon must be removed prior to bringing for disposal*

Aluminum Foil & Aluminum Trays

Aluminum foil and aluminum trays can be recycled through most Dekalb County     curbside recycling programs and at our Rural Recycling Sites located in Genoa and Somonauk. Foil should be crushed into a ball, additional aluminum foil can be added to the ball.

Aluminum foil and trays can also be placed in the trash, but it highly encouraged to recycled to recycle these items.

*Before recycling aluminum foil and trays they must be rinsed off and clean of food debris*

American Flags
Flags can be dropped off at any local V.F.W., American Legion Post, the Veterans Commission, or the Sycamore Veterans Home for proper disposal.  Check local directory for locations at VFW.org

Ammunition

Including fireworks and flares; call your local police non-emergency number.

Antifreeze

Antifreeze contains chemicals that can be poisonous to humans and animals.

Have your antifreeze changed at an auto service center, where they can recycle your antifreeze properly for you.

Antifreeze is a hazardous chemical and solvent should be brought to a household hazardous waste facility or our household hazardous waste collection day. See “Hazardous Waste.”

Appliances

Appliances containing CFC or HCFS, PCB’s, Mercury switches or other hazardous components (refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, humidifiers, etc.) are banned from landfill disposal. Some new appliance dealers will take your old appliance when you buy a new one. Some options for proper disposal of appliances include:

  1.  Zimmerman Recycling

   DeKalb: 301 Industrial Drive, DeKalb, IL 60115

                         Contact: (815) 756- 8600

                          *Will remove freon for a fee*

  • DeKalb Lake Shore Recycling: Residents that have Lake Shore Recycling as their waste hauler may place one appliance out for collection each week. Appliances are considered items such as a refrigerator or stove. Leave at least 2” between carts and appliance removal. To schedule pick up of additional items, a scheduled pick-up form can be filled out on their website: https://www.lrsrecycles.com/schedule-pick-up/
  • Waste Management: There is a separate fee for each appliance, please call customer service at 1-800-414-5325 to arrange collection. A separate truck will collect white goods in order for them to be processed in accordance with state law.
  • The Crusher

West Chicago: 651 W Washington St, West Chicago, IL 60185

Contact: 630-231-6888

Accepted Appliances: Stoves, Freezers, Washers and Dryers, Water Heaters, Small Appliances, Dishwashers, Furnaces, lawn equipment such as lawnmowers, tractors, and other gas-powered equipment.

Asbestos

Asbestos was used in building construction (in items such as shingles, siding, insulation, and linoleum) as fireproofing until the mid-1980’s when it was determined to be harmful to human health. The primary concern with handling asbestos is exposure to airborne fibers. These fibers, if inhaled can cause lung damage or cancer.

For any questions related to asbestos management or removal, contact:

Illinois Department of Public Health at (217) 782-3517 http://dph.illinois.gov/

  1. DeKalb County landfill accepts asbestos as a special waste. Call the DeKalb County landfill at (800) 963-4776 for specific disposal procedures.
  • Naperville Household Hazardous Waste Facility Can be reached at (630) 420-6095. They operate 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Saturday and Sunday at 156 Fort Hill Drive.

Accepts asbestos materials (in a size that will fit a 55-gallon drum; not in exceed of 50 pounds). This facility accepts many additional items for recycling. See website for details.

Ballasts (from fluorescent bulb fixtures)

Ballasts can be taken to Elgin Recycling, (847) 741-4100.

Batteries

There are a few different types of batteries. For help identifying which battery you have, you can check the Battery Identification Guide for Common Household Batteries. For page one Battery-ID-Guide_Page_1 (1913×2475) (swalco.org) and page two Battery-ID-Guide_Page_2 (1921×2475) (swalco.org) .

  • Auto batteries (Lead Acid): By Illinois state law, they are prohibited from being disposed of in the trash and any business that sells new batteries and replaces them in your car is required to tack back your old battery for recycling. These batteries can also be taken to any Batteries plus, Zimmerman, DIMCO, and the Household Hazardous Waste Facility.
  • Rechargeable batteries (usually Nickel, Cadmium, or “NICAD”): Many retail stores such as ACE Hardware, Best Buy, Lowes & Target will accept rechargeable batteries. Call retail stores to confirm acceptable batteries. These items can also be taken to a long-term Household Hazardous Waste Facility or a Household Hazardous Waste Collections Event. They cannot be placed in curbside recycling.
  • Mercury “button” batteries: These are commonly found in hearing aids, watches and       

cameras. To recycle, you can schedule a pickup or mail in to EverLights in Roselle.                                                                                                    You can also dispose of these at a household hazardous waste facility or collection day.

  • Household (alkaline) batteries: According to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency alkaline batteries are classified as “non-hazardous” and may be safely disposed of with normal household waste, however recycling is preferred.

Alkaline or household batteries can be recycled. To recycle, it is easiest to take them in to Batteries Plus. You can schedule a pickup or mail in to EverLights at 1020 Bonaventure Drive,   Elk Grove Village, IL 60007.

  • Lithium batteries: Can be taken and disposed of at a Batteries Plus Bulbs Store. They can also be taken to DIMCO Recycling in DeKalb. Lithium batteries are dangerous to dispose of as trash or recycling. When handled incorrectly they can explode or catch fire. Lithium batteries are used for laptops, tablets, cellphones, headphones, hover boards and electric vehicles.

Bicycles

There are a couple of bicycle recycling options. The three closest locations are:

  1. Recycled Cycling Bike Shop 28W571 Batavia Rd, Warrenville, IL 60555
  2. Bicycles Etc. at 6460 College Rd., Lisle, IL, 60532
  3. Spin Doctor Cyclewerks Inc at 140 South Hickory Avenue, Bartlett, IL 60103

Bicycles can be recycled by taking them to a metal scrap yard. Nearby scrap yards are under “metals.”

Books

Books can be placed in your curbside recycling bin along with magazines and newspapers. Hardcover books should have the binding removed.

Boxes

  • Corrugated has two thin layers separated by wavy layers in the middle-such as grocery store boxes and appliance boxes.

Clean corrugated cardboard can be recycled through curbside collection or at a recycling center. Corrugated cardboard that has a waxy coating, attached Styrofoam supports, wet, or otherwise contaminated is not recyclable and should be put in the trash.

  • Boxboard is one layer of cardboard that is white or gray on the inside. Examples are cereal, frozen food, and beer and pop boxes.

Clean boxboard can be recycled. Break down the boxes and remove all inside packaging. In some parts of DeKalb County, wasted disposal providers and recycling drop-off centers collect milk and juice boxes.

Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is a soft plastic, like plastic bags, and it can be recycled in the same places. Many grocery stores like Jewel Osco and Target offer plastic bag recycling bins. Bubble wrap does not belong in the regular recycling bin because it can damage the conveyer belt in recycling plants.

C&D (Construction and Demolition)

Waste materials that result from construction and remodeling. Separate items such as metal, clean wood, clean corrugated cardboard. These items can be recycled. * Look up under each section.

Construction and demolition supplies can be taken to several different locations. To find a location close to you, use cdrecycling.org. You can also call LRS Recycling and Waste Management for recycling options.

LRS – LRS Construction Services (lrsrecycles.com)

Heartland Recycling Center – LRS (lrsrecycles.com)

WM – Construction & Demolition Waste Disposal | WM

For more information on how to handle different C&D materials, check out https://www.cdrecycling.org/c-d-materials

Most building materials cannot be burned. Materials such as concrete, Sheetrock/drywall, wood, plaster, insultation, roofing/shingles, siding, bricks, etc. can also be taken to the DeKalb County landfill.

Cans

Metal, aluminum, and steel cans are recyclable curbside in DeKalb County. Metal cans are also accepted by scrap metal dealers and recycling centers. Please do not crush aluminum cans if recycled curbside.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

You can check with the manufacturer to see if they have a take-back program or you could remove the battery and recycle the hard plastic.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors can be disposed of in the regular trash. 

Cardboard

Recycle by flattening and cutting into 3’x3’ and adding to mixed recycling.

Carpet/Padding

Carpet can be disposed of through regular trash pickup or taken to the DeKalb County Landfill.

Car seats

You can recycle your car seat at Flat Can Recycling or at https://carseatrecycling.com/, or you may be able to donate it to your local food pantry or thrift shop.

* Car seats cannot be donated after 5 years of use, after being in an accident, or if chemical cleaners have been used on the straps.

Cartridges/Inkjet Toner

Old ink and toner cartridges can be recycled at all Best Buy or Target for more information contact your local store and or visit bestbuy.com.  

Catalogs

Catalogs that are made from “glossy” paper may be recycled.

Caulk & Caulking Tubes

Most caulk that is water soluble can be disposed of in the trash. However, if it has one of these words on the label including “danger,” “warning,” “caution,” “flammable,” “combustible,” or “corrosive” residents should bring it to a long-term household hazardous waste facility or a household hazardous waste collection day.

CDs/DVDs/VHS & Cassette Tapes

If products are in good workable condition, we recommend donating these items or taking them to a retail location that may buy or sell used CD, DVDs, and games.

Currently, there are no known local recycling programs for these items and so they may be disposed of through the trash. However, a few mail-in programs exist for proper disposal and recycling of these products including CD Recycling Center of America, Back Thru the Future, and Green Disk. Fees may be associated with these services please visit websites for applicable costs.  

Cell Phones/Accessories:

Usable cell phones can be donated to Safe Passage Women’s Shelter.

Cell Phones/Accessories may be taken to Target or Best Buy, who have collection bins near the front door, or one of our electronics collection events. Additionally, residents within the city limits of DeKalb are encouraged to utilize the E-Waste collection services offered through Lake Shore Recycling Systems while residents of Sycamore, Genoa, and Kirkland are encouraged to utilize the At Your Door Service offered by Waste Management.   

Chemicals, cleaners, fertilizers, pesticides:

These items can be brought to a long-term Household Hazardous Waste Facility or to one of our Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events. 

Christmas Trees

  • Real: Most curbside collectors in DeKalb County accept Christmas trees for the first two weeks of January.  Residents may also take their trees to the DeKalb County Landfill where they will be chipped into mulch or they can call for curbside pickup options.  Please contact the landfill at 815-758-6906 for further information.
  • Artificial: Fake trees can be donated to thrift shops or sold online. They can also be places for curbside pickup that will be landfilled.

Cleaners

Window cleaners, multipurpose cleaners, ammonia.

Cleaners that are toxic, corrosive, flammable, or poisonous can be taken to a household hazardous waste collection day.  See “Hazardous Waste,” and “Solvent- Based Cleaners.”

Clothing

Thrift shops, clothing consignment, resale and second-hand stores will accept your clothes for donation. Clothing can also be placed in Drop boxes where reusable clothes and shoes are sorted for reuse.  Damaged and worn textiles are turned into wiping clothes or insulation blankets.

Compost

Yard, garden, and food waste.Most curbside yard waste collections allow food scraps to be mixed in during yard waste collection season.

Amazon sells compost tumblers that are easy to assemble and maintain. Compost tumblers are a great way to reduce waste. A compost pile can also be constructed for free using wooden pallets. wikiHow also has a guide on composting.

Computer Software/Media

Computer Software/Media equipment can be brought to one of our electronics collection events or to a long-term facility. See under electronics for a list of long-term electronics collection facilities.Armor in downtown DeKalb and Best Buy can also be contacted to see if they accept the item for recycling.

Cooking Oil

Opened or used cooking oil can be disposed of through a drop off box provided by the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District at 1301 Sycamore, Road in DeKalb, they will use it to make electricity. For more information on this service call (815) 758-3513 or visit Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District .

If unopened please donate to your local food pantry.

Dehumidifiers

To properly dispose of your dehumidifiers, contact Zimmerman Recycling in DeKalb at (815) 756-8600 or The Crusher in West Chicago at (630) 231-6888.

Document Shredding

Shredded documents are not recyclable but they are compostable.

Electronics Recycling

Used and unwanted electronics can be disposed of in three ways:

  1. Take used and unwanted electronics to one of our Electronics Recycling Collection events,
  2. The residents of Sycamore, Genoa, and Kingston can use Waste Management’s At Your Door program. City of DeKalb residents may use LRS’s E-Waste Home Collection.
  3. Visit one of the long-term electronics facilities listed below:
  • Armor
    • 105 W Lincoln Hwy DeKalb IL 60115
      • Contact:
      • 815-754-0505
    • Accepts all electronics and batteries for FREE except CRT Monitors and Televisions.
    • Fee’s:  *Current as of 4/23-subject to change
      • $10 for a CRT Monitor 19 inches or smaller
      • $14 for a CRT Monitor larger than 19 inches
      • $18 for a CRT Television 19 inches or smaller
      • $26 for a CRT Television larger than 19 inches
  • Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful
    • Rockford: 5665 Hydraulic Road, Rockford, IL 61109
    • Contact: (815) 637-1343
    • Hours: Tuesday’s 2-5 p.m. & Saturday’s 9 a.m.- Noon
    • Fee’s: *Current as of 4/23-subject to change
    • ∙ TV’s & Monitors
      • $25.00 (each) for projection TV’s/wood console TV’s
      • $20.00 (each) for TV’s/Monitors 19” and above
      • $15.00 (each) for TV’s/Monitors 19” and under
  • Elgin Recycling (2 locations)
  • Elgin: 660 Schiller St., Elgin, IL 60123
    • Hours: Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. & Saturday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Gilberts: 161 Center Dr., Gilberts, IL 60136
    • Hours: Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. & Saturdays 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Contact: (847) 741-4100
    • Fee’s: *Current as of 4/23-subject to change
    • ∙TV’ & Monitors
      • $25.00 for TV’s/Monitors under 21”
      • $35.00 for TV’s/Monitors 21” and above
      • $15.00 for LCD Monitors

Eyeglasses
Eyeglasses can be recycled at your local Lions Club.

Explosives

If you have anything that is marked “Explosive” or that you think might be explosive. DO NOT TOUCH IT! Call your local police.

Fertilizer

The best thing to do is to use it up or give it away to your neighbor or local community garden.  However, dry granular fertilizer that does not contain any pesticides can be thrown in the trash.  If household fertilizers contain herbicides or pesticides, they should be brought to a household hazardous waste facility or our household hazardous waste collection day. See “Hazardous Waste.”

Film & X-rays

For X-ray, MRI film, and lithographic film recovery visit the X-Ray Film Recycling website or call          (877) 217-7020. They will pay you for each pound of x-rays.

Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are under pressure and have the potential to explode in combination with some materials. They cannot be discarded curbside, to recycle contact the product manufacturers to see if there is a recycling program in place or if they can be returned to the manufacturer. If they cannot be returned or recycled and are still filled, they should be brought to a long-term household hazardous waste facility. See “Hazardous Waste.” If they are empty, they can be taken to a metal scrapper, like Zimmermans or DIMCO. Call ahead.

Floor Absorbent (Floor Dry)

Safe disposal is dependent upon the type of absorbent and the kind of liquid that was absorbed.  Call DeKalb County Solid Waste Associate at 815-748-2408 for more information.

Food Waste/Organics

See Compost

Fuel Storage Tanks

Empty fuel storage tanks can be taken to scrap dealers or salvage yards for recycling. Call your local scrap metal dealer to make sure they will accept the tanks. Some will not.

Gardening plant pots, trays, tags

The thin plastic container plugs or plants come in are not curbside recyclable but you can recycle them through Lowe’s plant container recycling program.

Hard ceramic or plastic pots can be donated to thrift shops, community gardens, or given away on community freecycle pages.

Gasoline & Kerosene

Unused or unusable gasoline should be taken to a household hazardous waste facility or our household hazardous waste collection day. See “Hazardous Waste.”

Glass

Glass food and drink bottles can be recycled through most DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs and drop-off recycling centers. The glass should be rinsed clean and the lids and caps replaced. Labels do not need to be removed. DO NOT BREAK.

The following types of glass are not recyclable because they contain different ingredients than glass bottles. Throw these in the trash: mirrors, plexiglass, plates and dishes, ceramics, drinking glasses, windows, and incandescent light bulbs.

Hangers (clothes)

Metal hangers can be recycled with scrap metal facilities, look under “Metals.” Plastic hangers are made of mix of different plastic types and are difficult to recycle, it is best to donate.

Many dry cleaners will take these, check with your local cleaner. Also try calling a nursing home and see if they need them.

Hazardous Waste

Avoid hazardous products or use them up for their intended purpose.  Improper use or disposal can be harmful to human health and the environment. Generally, if the container says:

Danger, Caution, Poison, Flammable, Warning, Toxic, Corrosive, Combustion, contains acid, contains lye, contains petroleum distillates, or causes burns to skin. . . . . . it probably contains hazardous chemicals.

These items need to be handled properly for disposal. The Illinois EPA sponsors two Household Hazardous Waste Collection sites in this region.

IL EPA Household Hazardous Waste

DeKalb County does not have a permanent facility for collection of household hazardous waste. The county sponsors a household hazardous waste collection day annually.

Watch your newspaper or call DeKalb County Solid Waste Associate at 815-748-2408 for information on upcoming collections.

Take your Household Hazardous Waste to our Household Hazardous Waste Collection event or visit one of the long-term collection facilities listed:

  • Residents within the city limits of DeKalb are encouraged to utilize the Household Hazardous Waste Home Collection service offered through LRS.
  • To schedule a home collection, visitLRS – DeKalb or call (815) 770-7500.
  • Residents within the city limits of Sycamore, Genoa, and Kirkland are encouraged to utilize the At Your Door Service offered by Waste Management.
  • To schedule a home collection, visit Waste Management – At Your Door or call (800) 449-7587.
  • Rockford: 3333 Kishwaukee St, Rockford, IL 61109

Hours: Saturdays 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. & Sundays 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

* For more information on items accepted call (815) 637-1343.

  • Naperville: 156 Fort Hill Drive, Naperville, IL 60450

Hours: Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

                        * For more information on items accepted call (630) 420-6095.

Hearing Aids

Hearing aids can be recycled at your local Lions Club.

Holiday Lights

Holiday Lights can be recycled and dropped off at one of our partner locations during our annual Holiday Lights Collections Program or they can be taken to one these facilities anytime.

  1. DeKalb Iron & Metal, LLC

                        DeKalb: 900 Oak St, DeKalb, IL 60115

                        Contact: (815) 758-2458

  • Zimmerman Recycling

                      DeKalb: 301 Industrial Drive, DeKalb, IL 60115

                      Contact: (815) 756- 8600

Household Items

Usable furniture can be donated to thrift shops or given away on community freecycle pages. They can also be placed on the curb with a “free” sign.  Unusable furniture can be taken to the DeKalb County landfill for disposal or call your waste disposal company for special pick up.

Junk Mail

To reduce the junk mail received unsubscribe from the National Direct Mailing Lists and other distribution lists with these links below.

  1. National Do Not Mail List
    1. https://www.directmail.com/mail_preference/     
  2. DMA Choice
    1. https://www.dmachoice.org/
  3. Opt out of Credit Card Offers
    1. https://www.optoutprescreen.com/?rf=t
  4. Opt out of Phone Books
    1. https://www.yellowpagesoptout.com/
  5. Stop Catalog Mailings

Landscape Waste

Landscape waste includes grass clippings, weeds, flowers, branches (not to exceed 3” in diameter) and hedge trimmings. According to state law, landscape waste may not be mixed with household trash. Waste Management and LRS accept landscaping waste from April to November. Landscaping waste can also contain compostable food waste.

Lawn Mowers

Empty the gas from the mower and take to a Household Hazardous Waste Collection event or facility and take the mower to a scrap metal drop-off for recycling. If it is working or repairable, you can put it at the curb at any time with a Free sign on it.

Leather Goods

Leather cannot be recycled in DeKalb County. Unusable leather goods can be thrown in the trash. Usable leather goods can be donated to local thrift shops.

Lights Bulbs

  • Fluorescent Lights: Take fluorescent light bulbs and tubes to a household hazardous waste collection or long-term facility. See Hazardous Waste for a list of drop-off facilities.
  • Incandescent: Incandescent light bulbs cannot be recycled throw these into the trash. Wrap them in a paper towel to prevent the glass from puncturing the skin for your household or waste workers.
  • Halogen: Halogen light bulbs can be disposed of with trash, it is best to wrap them in paper towel to prevent the glass from puncturing the skin for your household or workers.

Magazines

Magazines can be recycled in most DeKalb County Curbside Recycling and drop-off recycling centers.

Mattresses

Contact your waste hauler for curbside collection or list on Craigslist or Freecycle if reusable.

Medical Equipment

Medical equipment can be donated to The Lending Closet at St. John Lutheran Church. The church is located at 26555 Brickville Rd Sycamore, IL 60178 please call ahead of time to schedule a drop-off at 815-895-4477.

Medication

Medication collection is available at many pharmacies. Medication is incinerated. Check out our medication recycling resource for locations: Prescription-Drop-off-Locations .

Mercury

Any mercury or items containing mercury

For Thermometers and thermostats look under “Thermometers & Thermostats,” for button batteries look under “Batteries,” and other mercury containing items to our Household Hazardous Waste Collection event or visit one of the long-term collection facilities. See “Hazardous Waste” for collection sites.

Metals

Many types of metal are accepted by scrap metal recycling facilities.

  1. DeKalb Iron and Metal
    1. 900 Oak St, DeKalb, IL 60115
    1. Contact: (815) 758-2458
  2. Zimmerman Recycling
    1. 301 Industrial Drive, DeKalb, IL, 60115
    1. Contact: (815) 756-8600

Milk Containers

Both plastic milk jugs and paper cartons can be recycled in your curbside recycling. Please rinse before recycling. See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs” and “Drop-Off Recycling Sites.”

Musical Instruments

If the musical instrument is still usable it can be donated to a school music department, churches, and sometimes food pantries. It can also be sold online using sites like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook marketplace.

Local stores like Ax-In-Hand Guitars and Roger’s Music in DeKalb accept guitars and other instruments for repair and sale. Search for music shops in your area.

Instruments broken beyond repair, depending on their materials, can be taken to a scrap metal yard, look under “metals.” Otherwise, they can be disposed of with the trash.

Nail Polish

When you cannot use it up, dry it out.  Open the cap and allow the contents to dry in an outside area away from children, pets and sources of heat or flame.  Once the contents are completely dry and hardened, the container can be thrown in the trash.

Needles

The preferred choice is to use drop-off or mail in services for safe disposal of sharps. Sharps containers can be purchased at your local pharmacy, Wal-Mart, Meijer’s, or online.  For a list of mail in options and detailed safe packaging requirements check out Kane County Recycles Sharps page.

Text Box:  However, if these options are not feasible, sharps can be disposed of in household trash if and only if ​they are packaged safely as described below.  Never dispose of sharps in recycling bins and never dispose of sharps uncontained or loose in the trash.  Containers can be made using a hard plastic container no larger than 1 gallon, a good option is laundry detergent. Containers must be duct tapped shut and labeled “Sharps Biohazard” and “Do Not Recycle.” After the sharps container is over half-way filled, it should be disposed of.

For more information check out the IEPA Sharps Fact Sheet.

Sycamore has a needle disposal program through Waste Management’s At Your Door Service.  To schedule a home collection, visit Waste Management – At Your Door or call (800) 449-7587. 

The DeKalb County Health Department also has a sharps disposal program for residents, contact the Solid Waste Associate at 815-748-2408 or recyle@dekalbcounty.org.

Newspapers

Newspaper can be recycled alongside other paper products.

Oil – Motor/Transmission

It is a violation of state law to dump used motor oil on the land or to put it with regular trash.  Local retailers may accept it, like AutoZone, LubePros, or Walmart. Call the DeKalb County Solid Waste Associate for more information 815-748-2408 or recyle@dekalbcounty.org.

Oxygen Tanks

Oxygen tanks should be emptied before attempting to recycling. Never dispose of with curbside garbage. DIMCO and Zimmerman accept oxygen tanks, local scrap collectors may accept them, as well.

Packaging Products

  • Packaging Peanuts: Clean bagged packaging peanuts can be reused at your local UPS store.
  • Packaging Cardboard: Can be recycled in 3’x3’ pieces.
  • Bubble wrap: See “bubble wrap” and “plastic grocery bags.”
  • Plastic wrap: Should be disposed of with trash.

Paint

Empty metal paint cans and lids can be recycled with curbside pickup. If you still have paint left over, you can try giving it away in a local “Buy Nothing” or “Freecycle” group, or community pages. For disposal, it depends on the type of paint.

  • Latex: Latex paint collections are periodically held through the DeKalb County Health Department collection events. Paint can also be taken to Flat Can Recycling in Elburn.

Small amounts of unused paint can be thoroughly dried and put in the trash. 

Open the lid and let it dry in a well-ventilated area, or spread the paint on a sheet of cardboard and allow it to dry.  For larger amounts of latex paint use, use an absorbent such as kitty litter to absorb any remaining liquid.  When all liquid is absorbed, the latex paint can be placed with regular garbage.

  • Oil-Based: What you cannot use should be brought to a long-term household hazardous waste facility or a household hazardous collection day.  See “Hazardous Waste.”

Paper Products

Recyclable

  • Chipboard/paper board cereal box material is recyclable.
    • Cardboard is recycled by flattening and cutting into 3’x3’ pieces.
    • Junk mail can be recycled even with the plastic window.
    • Paper bags are recyclable.
    • Notebooks with the metal spiral removed are recyclable.
    • Paperback books are recyclable. Hardcover books must have the backing and cover removed to recycle.
    • Magazines are recyclable.
    • Office paper is recyclable. No fluorescent paper. Staples are okay, metal clips and rings must be removed.
    • Note cards are recyclable.
    • Post-it notes are recyclable if they are not florescent.
    • Clean pizza box lids are recyclable.

Compostable

  • Shredded paper is not recyclable but can be composted.
    • Napkins and paper towels are not recyclable but can be recyclable but can be composted.
    • Contaminated Pizza boxes are not recyclable but can be composted.

Disposal

  • Frozen food boxes are not recyclable. They are mixed with plastic.
    • Paper cups are not recyclable. They are mixed with plastic.

Pesticides

  • Agricultural: Improper use and disposal of pesticides can cause damage to your health and the environment.  Containers can be recycled through the IL Department of Agriculture Agrichemical Container Recycling Program, or empty containers can be triple-rinsed and disposed of at the DeKalb County landfill.
  • Non-agricultural: Herbicides, insecticides, rodenticides, and fungicides.

Pesticides that you cannot use should be brought to a long-term household hazardous waste facility or a household hazardous collection day.  See “Hazardous Waste.”

Plastic grocery bags & plastic film

Soft plastics can be recycled at local grocery stores, like Jewel Osco, Schnucks, and Target, using their plastic bag recycling program. Soft plastics do not belong in curbside recycling because it can damage the conveyer belt in recycling plants.

Many plastic films are recyclable, like cereal box liners, bread liners, plastic bottle liners, plastic wrap, and bubble wrap, Ziplock, produce, newspaper, and dry-cleaning bags. Check out NEXTTREX website for more information on what is recyclable.

Propane Tanks

Flat Can Recycling accepts small propane tanks for a fee. The DeKalb County Health Department partners with Flat Can Recycling, so small propane tanks can be recycled on collection dates. Local hardware shops and the Illinois EPA also have collection days. Some propane and LP gas distributors will take your containers back to be properly disposed of.  Look under “gas” in the yellow pages for the distributor nearest you.

Empty propane tanks are NOT recyclable through DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs or drop-off recycling centers.  Use them for their intended purpose or give them to a friend or neighbor who can use them. You can also post them on Facebook “Freecycle for the DeKalb County Illinois Area” page, marketplace, or other buy/sell sites.

Shingles (Roof)

Shingles are often disposed of as trash but asphalt shingles can be recycled through the right contractor. Check out this search tool to find shingles recycling contractors near you.

Shoes

Locally there is The Free Shoe Closet located in DeKalb that can be found on Facebook. Shoes can also be recycled through TerraCycle – Zero Waste Box, Nike Grind, TevaForever, Runners Roost, Got Sneakers, Green Directory from GreenCitizen, and Converse.

Smoke Detectors

There are two types of smoke detectors: photoelectric and ionizing. Ionizing detectors contain a small amount of radioactive materials.

Ionizing detectors will have an address on the back where you can return the detector.  Photoelectric detectors can generally be sent back to their manufacturer for recycling. The United States Postal Service also has a website to find smoke detector recycling locations. They may also be thrown in the regular trash.

Solvents & Solvent-Based Cleaners

Paint thinner, remover and stripper; nail polish removers; rubbing (wood) alcohol; spot & stain removers; gasoline additives, deicers, waxes, polishes, degreasers, and other petroleum-based products.

Solvents and solvent-based cleaners should not be disposed of down a drain, in the trash or down a toilet.  They can be taken to a long-term household hazardous waste facility or our household hazardous waste collection day. See “Hazardous Waste.”

Additionally, residents within the city limits of DeKalb are encouraged to utilize collection services offered through Lake Shore Recycling Systems while residents of Sycamore, Genoa, and Kirkland are encouraged to utilize the At Your Door Service offered by Waste Management.  

Sports Equipment

Sports equipment can be given away to friends, family, or your local Freecycling page. Sports equipment can also be donated to thrift shops.

Metal equipment can otherwise go to a scrap metal site, look under “metals,” or it can be disposed of with trash depending on the size. Large equipment should be scheduled for special pickup with your trash hauler.

Styrofoam/Polystyrene

Foam packing peanuts cannot be recycled in curbside programs or at drop-off centers, however it can be recycled at Dart Container located at 310 Evergreen Drive, North Aurora. Packaging/shipping services may also accept them or you can reuse them yourself. Flat Can Recycling also accepts Styrofoam.

Televisions

DeKalb County periodically sponsors electronic collection events. Stay tuned to announcements on our website and social media. Look under “electronics” for year-round recycling options.

Thermometers & Thermostats

Thermometers and thermostats that contain mercury should not be disposed of in the trash.  

Old thermostats can be taken to Lowe’s or Menard’s for recycling. They can be taken to a long-term household hazardous waste facility or our household hazardous waste collection day. See “Hazardous Waste.”

Additionally, residents within the city limits of DeKalb are encouraged to utilize collection services offered through Lake Shore Recycling Systems while residents of Sycamore, Genoa, and Kirkland are encouraged to utilize the At Your Door Service offered by Waste Management.  

Tires

Motorists purchasing new tires should leave their used tires with their retailer, by law retailers should accept used tires for recycling. Scrap dealers may accept them, as well.

Toners & Printer Cartridges

Target and Best Buy accept toner and printer cartridges in their recycling bins by the front door.

Toys

Toys are not recyclable in DeKalb County.  Donate unwanted, unbroken toys to charities, thrift shops, community groups, friends, relatives, and day care centers or sell them at garage sales. They can otherwise be disposed of in the trash.

Vases

The type of glass in vases is not accepted at most recycling centers but is accepted for reuse in local thrift shops or can be disposed of in the trash.

Vehicles

You can take cars to scrap metal yards, see “metal” or you can donate cars, trucks, SUVs, motorhomes, RVs, boats, or any other vehicles. Possible donation sites are:

Video games

Video games in good workable condition, can be donated or you can take them to a retail location that may buy them.

Video Game Consoles

Video game consoles can be recycled with electronics (look under the “electronics” section), donated to thrift shops, or sold to video game stores like GameStop or Disc Replay.

Windows

If new, completely with unbroken, insulated glass (or under 5 years), can be donated to Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Aurora, Elgin, or Rockford. If old or broken please dispose of at the curb. Contact you waste and recycling hauler for cost, and please duct tape an “X” on both sides of glass for pick-up.

Wood

Wood pallets can be recycled through Illinois Pallet Recycling in Elgin (847) 220-7085. LRS also recycles wood products LRS Construction Services (lrsrecycles.com) or Heartland Recycling Center – LRS (lrsrecycles.com).

Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper can be recycled under certain conditions. Kraft (brown) wrapping paper, 100% paper products, and lightly or naturally inked wrapping paper is recyclable. To recycle, keep with your other paper products.

Any wrapping paper that is made with mixed materials or uses a lot of ink is best sent to landfill.