Recycling A-Z

ADHESIVES

  • Glues, caulking compounds, epoxy resins, pastes, joint filers, wood putty, grout, spackling compounds, and rubber cement.
    • Disposal-Water-based glues (like 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

  • Recycle– EMPTY aerosol cans can be recycled with metal cans.  See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs” and “Drop-Off Recycling Sites.”
  • Disposal-Aerosol cans that are not empty should be treated as household hazardous waste and taken to a household hazardous waste facility or a mobile household hazardous waste collection day. See “Hazardous Waste.” Do not burn your aerosol cans; they are a safety hazard.

ALUMINUM FOIL & ALUMINUM TRAYS

  • Recycle-Aluminum foil and aluminum trays can be recycled through most DeKalb County curbside recycling programs and drop-off recycling centers.  Please rinse them clean.  See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs” and “Drop-Office Recycling Sites.”
  • Disposal-Residents can throw aluminum foil in the trash, but are strongly encouraged to recycle

AMMUNITION

  • Including fireworks and flares; call your local police.

ANTIFREEZE

  • Antifreeze contains chemicals that can be poisonous to humans and animals.
    • Recycle-Have your antifreeze changed at an auto service center where they can recycle your antifreeze for you.
    • Disposal- Antifreeze is a hazardous chemical.  See “Hazardous Waste.”

APPLIANCES

  • If handled improperly, appliances can damage the environment because many contain freon PCB’s, and mercury.
    • Recycle- Depending on the size and type, some drop off sites accept appliances for a fee.  Only an authorized appliance recycler who is licensed to handle hazardous waste may collect and dismantle appliances.  (Hazardous substances must be removed from appliances by licensed persons only.)  Some new appliance dealers will take your old appliance when you buy a new one.

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.
    • Disposal- Asbestos is accepted at the DeKalb County landfill as a special waste.   Call DeKalb County landfill at 815-758-6906 for specific disposal procedures.

AUTO FLUIDS

  • See “Antifreeze,” “Oil, Motor.”

AUTO PARTS

  • Recycle- Many parts can be taken to scrap metal dealers.  See yellow pages under “Scrap Metals.”

AUTOMOBILES

  • Disposal-  https://www.goodwillcardonation.org/ or  https://www.veterancardonations.org/

BAGS

  • Grocery/Shopping
    Paper or Plastic?  Both types of bags are made from natural resources and have different environmental impacts so there is not a clear choice to which is preferable.  The best solution is a durable, reusable bag.

    • Recycle- Some stores will take back their own plastic shopping bags for recycling.  DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs do not collect plastic shopping bags.
    • Disposal- Plastic bags that cannot be returned to the store can be put in the regular trash.  Do not burn your plastic bags; they are a safety hazard.

BATTERIES

Recycle:

  • Auto batteries
    DO NOT throw them in the trash or bury them!    They should be taken to a reclaimer to be recycled.  By Illinois law, any business that sells new batteries and replaces them in your car is required to take back you old battery for recycling.
  • Rechargeable batteries (usually Nickel, Cadmium or “NICAD”)
    Some stores selling these batteries also take them back. Bring them to a household hazardous waste facility or a mobile household hazardous waste collection day.  See “Hazardous Waste.”
  • Mercury “button” batteries
    These are commonly found in hearing aids, watches and cameras.  Bring these to a household hazardous waste collection day.  Some stores who sell these also take them back.
  • Household (alkaline) batteries
    New alkaline batteries (batteries purchased after 1991) have much smaller amounts of mercury and require no special handling. Alkaline batteries can be recycled, which is recommended, by taking them to an electronics collection. These collections also include non-automotive batteries and compact fluorescent bulbs.

BOOKS

  • Recycle- Books can be recycled in some parts of DeKalb County.  See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs” and “Drop-Off  Recycling sites.”
  • Disposal- If  recycling is not available to you, and its unwanted or unusable, they may be placed in the trash.

BOXES

  • Corrugated- Has two thin layers separated by wavy layers in the middle-such as grocery store boxes and appliance boxes.
    • Recycle-  Clean corrugated cardboard can be recycled through curbside collection or at a recycling center.  Corrugated cardboard that has a waxy coating, has attached Styrofoam supports, is wet, or otherwise contaminated, is not recyclable and should be put in the trash.  See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs” and “Drop-Off Recycling Sites.”
  • Food- Boxboard is one layer of cardboard that is white or gray on the inside.  Examples are cereal, frozen food, and beer and pop boxes.
    • Recycle- 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.  See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs” and “Drop-Off Recycling Sites.”
    • Disposal- If boxboard cannot be recycled in your area, it can be thrown in the trash.

BUILDING

  • Waste materials that result from construction and remodeling.
    • Recycle-  Separate such items as metal, clean wood, clean corrugated cardboard.  These items can be recycled.
    • Disposal- Most building materials cannot be burned.  Materials such as concrete, Sheetrock/drywall, wood, plaster, insulation, roofing/shingles, siding, bricks, etc. may be taken to the DeKalb County landfill.

CANS

  • Recycle- Metal, aluminum and steel cans are recyclable in DeKalb County.  See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs” and “Drop-Off Recycling Sites.” Metal cans are also accepted by scrap metal dealers and recycling centers.
  • Disposal- Residents can throw their metal cans in the trash but are strongly encouraged to recycle.

CARPET

  • Disposal- Carpet can be disposed of through regular trash pickup or taken to the DeKalb County landfill.

CATALOGS

  • Recycle- Catalogs that are made from “glossy” paper may be recycled with magazines.  See Magazines.  Catalogs made from other types of paper may be recycled in some parts of DeKalb County.  See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs: and “Drop-Off Recycling Sites.” If catalogs can not be recycled in your area, they may be thrown in the trash.

CAULK & CAULKING TUBES

  • Disposal-  Most caulk that is water soluble can be placed in the trash.  If it has one of these words on the label “danger,” “warning,” “caution,” “flammable,” “combustible,” or “corrosive” residents should bring it to a household hazardous waste facility or a household hazardous waste collection day.  See “Hazardous Waste.”

CHRISTMAS TREES

  • Disposal- DeKalb County accepts Christmas trees from December 26th through January 31st each year.  Residents may take their trees to the DeKalb County Landfill where they will be chipped into mulch (see “Compost”). Compost is sold by the yard.  Please contact the landfill at 815-758-6906 for further information

CLEANERS

  • Window cleaners, multipurpose cleaners, ammonia.
    • Disposal- 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

  • Recycle- (See Thrift shops, clothing consignment and resale, and second-hand stores, in your yellow pages, for options to get rid of clean clothing).

COMPOST

  • Yard, garden and food waste.
    • Disposal- Since the ban of landscape waste from landfills was enacted in July 1990, residents are required to separate landscape waste from trash if they wish to have it collected for disposal.  See “Landscape Waste.”

EXPLOSIVES

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

FERTILIZERS

  • Agricultural
    • Disposal- Small amounts can be placed in a manure spreader and spread with manure.
  • Household
    • Disposal- The best thing to do is to use it up.  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 taken to a household hazardous waste facility or mobile household hazardous waste collection day.  See “Hazardous Waste”.

FLOOR ABSORBENT (FLOOR DRY)

  • Disposal- Safe disposal is dependent upon the type of absorbent and the kind of liquid that was absorbed.  Call DeKalb County Solid Waste  at 815-758-6673 for more information.

FUEL STORAGE TANKS

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

FURNITURE

  • Disposal- Unusable furniture can be taken to the DeKalb County landfill for disposal or call your waste disposal company for special pick up

GASOLINE & KEROSENE

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

GLASS BOTTLES & JARS

  • Recycle- 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 removed.  Labels do not need to be removed.  DO NOT BREAK.   See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs” and “Drop-Off Recycling Sites.”
  • Disposal-  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.

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.
    • Link:  http://www.epa.state.il.us/land/hazardous-waste/household-haz-waste/hhwc-schedule.html
  • DeKalb County does not have a permanent facility for collection of household hazardous waste.  Occasionally the county will sponsor a mobile household hazardous waste collection day.
    Watch your newspaper or call DeKalb County Solid Waste at 815-758-6673 for information on upcoming collections.

JUNK MAIL

  • Ask companies not to sell or give your name to other mail order companies.  If you want your name  removed from bulk-mailing lists write to:
  • Direct Mailing Association
    Mail Preference Service
    P.O. Box 9008
    Farmingdale, NY  11735-9008
  • (You will need to repeat this process every six months).
  • If there are specific companies from which you do not wish to receive mail, cut out your mailing label  and return it to the company requesting that you be removed from their mailing list.

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.  Do not mix landscape waste with other trash.  Most waste disposal companies collect landscape waste between April 1st and November 30th.  Call your waste disposal provider for more information.

LEATHER GOODS

  • Disposal-  Leather cannot be recycled in DeKalb County.  Unusable leather goods can be thrown in the trash

LIGHT BULBS

  • Fluorescent: 
    • Disposal- Fluorescent bulbs contain small amounts of mercury.  Compact fluorescent bulbs are collected at the electronics collections for proper disposal. While some states ban these bulbs from their landfills, Illinois does not.  You may throw these bulbs in the trash.
  • Incandescent: 
    • Disposal- Incandescent light bulbs can be thrown in the trash; they cannot be recycled.

MAGAZINES

  • Recycle- Magazines can be recycled in most DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs and drop-off recycling centers.  See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs” and “Drop-Off Recycling Sites.”

MERCURY

  • Any mercury or items containing mercury.
  • Disposal- Thermometers, thermostats, button batteries, and other mercury containing items should be taken to a household hazardous waste facility or a mobile household hazardous waste collection day.  See “Hazardous Waste.”

METAL

  • Many types of metal are accepted by scrap metal dealers and recycling centers.
  • See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs” and “Drop-Off Recycling Sites“  In the yellow pages, call dealers listed under “Scrap Metals.”

MILK CONTAINERS

  • Recycle- Plastic milk jugs and paper cartons can be recycled in some parts of  DeKalb County.  Please rinse and crush.  See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs” and “Drop-Off Recycling Sites.”

NAIL POLISH

  • Disposal- 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

  • Disposal- Website by State search for SafeNeedleDisposal.org: https://safeneedledisposal.org/state-search/?state=IL
    • Ask your pharmacy, clinic, hospital or health department (there may be a fee) to take them back.  If they will not take them back, put needles into a ” sharps container” (available at pharmacies), and inform your waste disposal provider that it will be placed with your trash.
    • Residents may place sharps in sharps containers or a heavy duty plastic bottles with a strong lid, (i.e. tide detergent bottle, secured with duct tape) .  Sharps containers can also be purchased at the Health Department, please call for information on the cost of pricing and disposal at 815-748-2408.

NEWSPAPERS

  • Recycle- Newspapers may be recycled in DeKalb County.  Put them in a paper grocery sack or tie in bundles.  Set them on the curb for pickup or bring them to a drop-off recycling center nearest you.  See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs” and “Drop-Off Recycling Sites.”
  • Disposal- Residents can place newspaper into the trash, but strongly encouraged to recycle them.

OFFICE PAPER

  • Recycle- Recyclable office paper includes notebook, copy, colored, carbon, and computer paper, envelopes with or without plastic windows and file folders.  See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs” and “Drop-Off Recycling Sites.
  • Disposal- Residents are not prohibited by law from throwing office paper in the trash.  However, many local area institutions and business offer recycling to their employees and clients.  You are strongly encouraged to support these efforts whenever possible.

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.   Call the DeKalb County Solid Waste Coordinator for more information 815-758-6673.

PAINT

  • Latex
    • Disposal-  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
    • Disposal- What you cannot use should be brought to a household hazardous waste facility or a mobile household hazardous collection day.  See “Hazardous Waste.”

PAPER PRODUCTS

  • Toilet paper, tissue, paper towels, paper plates, paper cups, etc.
  • Disposal- Paper products listed above are not recyclable.  These items can be placed in the trash

PESTICIDES

  • Agricultural
    • Improper use and disposal of pesticides can cause damage to your health and the environment
      • Disposal- Empty containers can be triple-rinsed and disposed of at the DeKalb County landfill.
  • Non-agricultural
    • Herbicides, insecticides, rodenticides and fungicides.
      • Disposal- If you have pesticides that you cannot use, take them to a Household Hazardous Waste Facility or a household hazardous collection day.

PHONE BOOKS

  • Recycle- Telephone books can be recycled through most DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs and drop-off recycling centers.  See “DeKalb County Curbside Recycling Programs” and “Drop-Off Recycling Sites.”

PLASTICS

  • Disposal- Home owners may throw empty plastic bottles in the trash, however, recycling is strongly encouraged.  It is illegal to burn plastic.  Empty containers that contained automotive oils or other related products cannot be recycled.  Place them in the trash.

PROPANE TANKS

  • Recycle- Empty propane tanks are NOT recyclable through DeKalb County 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.
  • Disposal-  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.

SMOKE DETECTORS

  • There are two types of smoke detectors:  photoelectric and ionizing.  Ionizing detectors contain a small amount of radioactive materials.
    • Disposal- Ionizing detectors will have an address on the back where you can return the detector.  Photoelectric detectors may be thrown in the regular trash.

SOLVENT-BASED CLEANERS

  • Waxes, polishes, degreasers, and other petroleum based products.
    • Disposal- Solvent-based cleaners should not be disposed of down a drain, in the trash or down a toilet.  They should be brought to a household hazardous waste facility or a mobile household hazardous waste collection day.

SOLVENTS

  • Paint thinner, remover and stripper; nail polish removers; rubbing (wood) alcohol; spot & stain  removers; gasoline additives & deicers.
    • Disposal- Unused or unusable solvent should be brought to a household hazardous waste facility or a mobile household hazardous waste collection day.  See “Hazardous Waste.”

STYROFOAM

  • Recycle- Foam packing peanuts cannot be recycled in curbside programs or drop-off centers. Packaging/shipping services may accept them, or reuse them yourself.

TELEVISIONS

  • DeKalb County periodically sponsors free electronic collection events. Stay tuned to announcements on our website and social media.

Places to recycle televisions:

ABT
Glenview: 1200 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Glenview, IL 60025
Contact: 888-228-5800
Hours: M-Sa 1:00-7:00 PM
Accepts: all electronics: $25 for tube TVs 27″ and smaller: $50 for tube TVs 32″ and larger; $20 for flat panel TVs 32″ and smaller: $35 for flat panel TVs 32″ and larger; $75 for projection TVs.

Elgin Recycling
Elgin: 660 Schiller St., Elgin, IL 60123
Gilberts: 161 Center Dr., Gilberts, IL 60136
Contact: 847-741-4100
Hours: M-F 7am-5pm; Sat 8am-1pm
Accepts:  electronics, flat screens are accepted, Christmas lights; TVs or CRT monitors with charges starting at $20. Other electronics, like printers, laptops, PCs, etc. are accepted for free. Visit the website​ (elginrecycling.com/electronics/) or call for current charges.​

HOBI International 
Batavia: 1202 Nagel Blvd., Batavia, IL 60510
Contact: 630-239-2543
Hours: M-F 8am – 3pm
Accepts:   TVs and monitors are accepted for a fee, as follows: $13 for screens under 25″; $27 for screens 25″ – 48″; and $54 for screens over 48″. Miscellaneous electronics at a charge of $5 per box, and $5 per PC, $5 per laptop, and $5 per printer. Exact cash only, credit cards and checks are not accepted. No white goods (washers, refrigerators, etc.) or any household appliances.​

THERMOSTATS & THERMOMETERS

  • Old thermostats can be taken to Lowe’s or Menard’s for recycling.
    • Disposal- Thermostats and thermometers contain mercury and should not be disposed of in the trash.   They should be taken to a household hazardous waste facility or a mobile household hazardous waste collection day.

TIRES

  • Disposal- It is illegal to dump or burn tires.  Tires can be taken to some retailers or a scrap dealer.  There may be a fee (See yellow pages for tire dealers).  Watch your newspaper for used tire collection days.

TONERS & PRINTER CARTRIDGES

  • Recycle- https://www.freerecycling.com/

TOYS

  • Recycle- Toys are not recyclable in DeKalb County.  Donate unwanted, unbroken toys to charities, friends, relatives, and day care centers or sell them at garage sales.

VEHICLES

WINDOWS

  • Disposal- Window glass is not recyclable and should be put in your trash

WRAPPING PAPER

  • Recycle- Wrapping paper can be recycled.
  • Disposal- Can be thrown in trash, but recycling is strongly encouraged.