4 Common Materials to Recycle This Fall Season

4 Common Materials to Recycle This Fall Season

At the beginning of the autumn season, Chicagoland presents some of the most beautiful displays of fall foliage in Illinois. From Ryerson Woods to Waterfall Glen to Chicago Botanic Garden, you don’t have to travel far to observe vivid red, orange and gold leaves.

But just as the trees are changing their colors, you too can turn over a new leaf and go green this fall. By recycling, you can do your part to reduce pollution and preserve our natural resources. This fall season, look out for these four common materials to recycle.


1. Autumn Leaves

Fall leaves look breathtakingly beautiful while they still cling to their branches. But once those leaves drop, they can quickly clutter your yard and clog your gutters.

For a delightfully spooky yard decoration, repurpose the fallen leaves by fitting them into a recyclable pumpkin-printed bag. If you feel even more crafty, frame or mount the leaves to create colorful wall art for your home.

To dispose of yard waste, call your local recycling center to learn about their yard waste recycling options. Illinois law does not permit landscape waste such as leaves, grass clippings or branches in local landfills. Instead, organic material is composted to be recycled into mulch and other materials for local parks and gardens.

2. Car Batteries

As you prep your vehicle for winter weather, you might perform a variety of basic maintenance tasks to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly when the temperature starts to drop. For example, you might check your oil levels, replace your windshield wipers and examine your belts and hoses for damage. If you are concerned about your car failing during the middle of a snowstorm, you might replace your aging battery as well.

If you do end up replacing your car battery, know that nearly 97% of the battery’s lead content is recyclable. Experts can convert or repurpose the sulfuric acid into dye and fertilizer. At a recycling center, specialized equipment can grind up and repurpose the plastics from the battery case.

3. Spiral Notebooks

Your children (and possibly you, too) are back in school again during the fall season, and you’ve likely purchased enough pens, pencils and folders to outfit a small army. In a few weeks, you may soon have a large pile of scribbled-in notebooks detailing everything from basic mathematics to deconstructed sentences.

If your kids no longer need their past assignments, take a few extra moments to recycle the notebooks. The paper can go toward creating new notebooks for the following school year, and when you recycle paper, you can reduce greenhouse gasses and conserve water and energy.

Keep in mind that some notebooks are easier to recycle than others. If you have a spiral-bound notebook, it would be helpful to remove the plastic or metal wire that holds the paper together. Fortunately, certain recycling providers allow you to co-mingle your recyclables into one container. Lakeshore’s advanced single-stream recycling center collects co-mingled materials and then sorts and separates the commodities for reuse.

 4. Outdated Phones

Popular electronics are released throughout the year, but many major manufacturers prefer to save their latest phone releases and launch dates for the fall season. October gives products a few weeks to gain popularity right before the holidays as it is one of the most active shopping times of the year.

If you recently upgraded your phone, depending on the age and condition, you might have luck selling the model online. Additionally, some stores and phone companies will allow you to exchange your old phone for store credit.

However, if you have a phone older than a few years or if your phone doesn’t function at all, recycle it. E-Waste is no longer permitted in landfills, which makes it necessary to drop your discarded items off at an electronics recycling drop-off site, or schedule a pickup with your preferred recycling provider.

Looking for More Ways to Recycle?

This fall season you can do more than recycle your leaves, batteries, notebooks and phones. If you really want to make a difference, download Lakeshore’s single-stream recycling guide to learn what additional materials can steer clear from landfills. You might be surprised at the list of items you can recycle instead of throwing away!

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