What Can You Bring to Your Chicago Recycle Center?

Recycling is good for the planet, but even with the best of intentions there are still some things that you can’t recycle. It’s important you know what to bring to the recycle center, so you don’t end up being turned away or drop off something that has to be disposed of some other way. That’s especially true with hazardous materials, but also important for other items. When it comes to needing a recycle center Chicago has options, but not every center takes the same things. With a handy list of facilities and accepted materials, you can make the right choice in what items to bring for recycling and where to take them.

Why Are Some Recycle Centers Different?

The size of the facility, the number of employees who work there, and the types of equipment that are available all work together to affect what can and cannot be recycled at a particular location. Most of the Chicago area facilities accept more than a dozen types of materials, including things like tires and bricks as well as more standard options such as cardboard and plastic, but not all facilities are that way. For example, the Exchange Material Recovery Facility only accepts:

  • Dirt
  • Brick
  • Concrete
  • Wood
  • Glass
  • Metal

What About Common Household Recyclables?

If you have more common items around your household, those will need to be taken to a different recycle center in order to be accepted. If you have e-waste, for example, only Northbrook and Heartland will accept that, as will the California MRF, while West Chicago MRF is not set up to take electronics. All four of those centers will take everything that the Exchange Material Recovery Facility accepts, along with:

  • Drywall
  • Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Lumber
  • Railroad Ties
  • Stone
  • Tires
  • Wire

The West Chicago and Heartland locations also take vactor waste.

Get Your Materials Ready

Make sure you know the rules on bringing materials to any of the facilities you need to go to. They may have to be packaged a particular way or in certain sizes or lengths. If you’re not sure, calling ahead can give you plenty of opportunity to ask any questions you have about the location, what it offers, and special requirements to ensure that you’re bringing only recyclable materials and disposing of them the right way. It can give you great peace of mind, and also help the planet breathe a little bit easier, too.