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Single-stream recycling guidelines 


Residential curbside collection programs are managed by municipalities and townships in Kane County. For service issues, please contact either your hauler or your city directly, using this Hauler Contact List. For residents in unincorporated Kane County, you may contract for services with any one of the licensed haulers.

These guidelines apply to households, businesses, schools and institutions.


  • Newspaper and inserts
  • Magazines, catalogs, and phone books
  • Office paper, notebooks (staples, spirals, metal clips are okay), computer print outs, hanging file folders, pastel colored sticky notes, glossy brochures, index cards, greeting cards, stationary, fax paper, manila folders and envelopes (cellophane windows are ok to leave in)
  • Junk mail (please remove all non-paper: plastic cards, magnets, etc)
  • Chipboard/paperboard - cereal, cracker, or frozen food boxes, tissue, shoe, gift, and 6/12-pack boxes, paper towel tubes, and egg cartons
  • Cardboard boxes must be flattened and cut to 3’ x 3’
  • Brown paper grocery bags
  • Paperback books (no hardcover books)
  • Shredded Paper - Loose shredded paper causes major sorting problems in the Recycling Facility, so please find out how your waste hauler recommends packaging it for recycling. Some suggest enclosing it in paper bags, some in clear plastic bags
  • NO used paper plates or pizza boxes, or fluorescent paper (they contaminate the paper stream with food, dye, or plastic coating)
  • NO paper towels, tissues, or napkins, which are not recyclable because the fibers are too small to reuse (please compost them with kitchen food scraps if possible)


  • Aluminum cans (please empty, do not crush or flatten)
  • Aluminum foil (ball clean foil to 2 inches or larger, no flat foil or small balled up foil)
  • Pie plates & trays (must be free of food)
  • See a great flyer on the carton recycling process
  • Milk and Juice cartons and boxes (please empty and rinse, do not crush or flatten, plastic nozzles and tabs can be left on)
  • Food cans and lids (please empty and rinse, place lids in the can and lightly pinch the top closed, labels can be left on)
  • Metal paint cans and lids (must be empty and dry, some dried paint residue is fine)
  • Empty aerosol cans (nozzles and labels can be left on)
  • Metal lids are recyclable (place in recycling loose)
  • NO utensils, propane tanks, wire hangers, or small appliances
  • All colors are accepted (please empty and rinse, labels can be left on, remove lids and put them in separately, avoid breaking the glass)
  • NO window or auto glass, bakeware, ceramics, mirrors, light bulbs, coffee pots or drinking glasses
  • #1 PET - bottles, jars, and boxes (empty water and soda bottles, food jars, some fruit boxes)
  • #2 HDPE - bottles, jugs, and tubs (empty milk, juice, laundry detergent, shampoo bottles and tofu tubs)
  • #2 HDPE - buckets and pails (Buckets up to 5 gallons, pails without the metal handles)
  • #3 PVC - bottles (empty health and beauty products, cleaners)
  • #4 LDPE - containers (empty squeezable containers)
  • #5 PP - tubs (empty cottage cheese, yogurt, margarine tubs)
  • #7 mixed - other (narrow neck containers, plastic buckets such as kitty litter containers)
  • Leave plastic screw-top caps on empty plastic bottles and jars
  • NO plastic bags (do not put in the curbside bin, see Plastic Bag Recycling page)
  • NO plastic film (plastic wraps, sandwich bags, freezer bags, tarps)
  • NO plastic utensils or plates (plastic wraps, sandwich bags, freezer bags, tarps)
  • NO plastic toys or hard plastic packaging
  • NO candy wrappers, cereal bags, potato chip bags, or snack bags
  • NO empty motor oil, pesticide, or chemical bottles
  • NO plastic or Styrofoam, polystyrene (do not put in curbside bin, but deliver to Dart Container Corp, 310 Evergreen Dr., North Aurora,630-896-4631, Recycle Drop-Off is open 24/7. Dart accepts: foam blocks, clean food containers. NO straws, cup lids, paper, or packing peanuts. UPS stores will reuse clean, bagged and unmixed foam peanuts.)

Single-stream Recycling

The term “single-stream” simply refers to the fact that it is no longer necessary to separate paper and containers for recycling. You can place all recyclables into the same curbside bin or cart for collection. They are then delivered to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) equipped to sort out the aluminum, steel, glass, plastic and paper with a combination of machinery and human sorters. The materials are sorted, baled, sent to market, and ultimately are returned to the production cycle as a feedstock for products like recycled-content paper, new aluminum cans, and glass bottles. Plastics are used to create all kinds of things, like carpet, textiles and furniture. See this great video on the single-stream sorting process.

Close the Loop

Buying products with recycled content is the next step in creating a sustainable closed loop system. Look for household paper products like tissues, toilet paper, and paper towels that have recycled fiber content, otherwise they are made directly from trees! Office paper is available with 10% to 100% post-consumer recycled content, which means it was made out of paper that was milled and manufactured, purchased, used, recycled, and then remanufactured, to be used again!​
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