What Does the City Recycle?

from Alderman Waguespack

Blue Cart Reminder
Recently, my office has been getting calls from people who have had their blue carts tagged for being in violation of recycling rules.  All blue cans in the 32nd Ward are picked up by private companies like Waste Management since the privatization of recycling. That means Waste Management can refuse to take any bins based on what they see inside. If they refuse to take the cans, the responsibility falls on the City to dispose of the recycling. Since wetaxpayers pick up what is essentially a second bill, I would like to remind you what can and can’t be disposed of in blue carts.  Also, as a special notice, please either dispose of your recyclables loosely or in see through bags.  Putting your recyclables in black or opaque bags will get your cart tagged since the workers can’t tell what is inside.  If you have any questions, please contact my office.



Materials that are accepted in the Chicago Blue Cart Program & at Recycling Drop-off Centers:

  • Glass jars and bottles
  • Aluminum cans, foil and pie tins
  • Tin or Steel cans
  • Plastic bottles and containers (# 1-5, 7 accepted)
  • Cardboard and paper products (flatten all boxes)
  • Junk mail, telephone books, magazines and catalogs (click here for more information on reducing the amount of junk mail you receive)
  • Beverage cartons (milk, juice, soy cartons; this excludes plastic drinking cups and coffee cups)
  • Beverage carrier stock: plastic rings and cardboard carrying cases

Materials that are NOT accepted in the Blue Cart Program & at Recycling Drop-off Centers:

  • #6 Plastics (polystyrene or Styrofoam; this includes disposable plastic drinking cups)
  • Unnumbered plastics (toothbrushes, toys, hoses, cereal box liners, plastic wrap, etc.)
  • Loose plastic shopping bags (bring those back to retailers for recycling)
  • Hard, reusable plastic bottles (like Nalgene or baby bottles)
  • Construction debris (bricks, wood, cement, etc.)
  • Plastic or metal hangers
  • No food waste (this includes paper products that have food residue on them)
  • No yard waste (please put this in a paper bag next to your cart or use it for composting.  For more information on composting, please click here.)
  • No ceramics or dishes
  • No hazardous waste or motor oil containers
  • No electronics
  • No light bulbs, window glass or mirror
  • No batteries (these can now be thrown out with your regular garbage)

For more information on the blue cart program, please click here.

For more information on recycling household chemicals and electronics with the City, please click here. For more information on electronics recycling in general, please click here.

To recycle prescription medication that you never leave, bring it over to the 19th police district at 850 W. Addison.

To find an outlet for other materials not accepted in the Blue Cart program, please click hereto find your recycling locator.