Single-stream recycling guidelines
These guidelines apply to households, businesses, schools and institutions.
For those of you who want more information, please review the detailed guidelines below!
- Newspaper and inserts
- Magazines, catalogs, and phone books
- Office paper, notebooks (staples are okay, remove all metal clips and spirals and throw in trash), computer print outs, hanging file folders (remove metal and trash it), pastel colored sticky notes (no fluorescent), 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, tissue, shoe, gift, and 6/12-pack boxes, paper towel tubes, and egg cartons
- Cardboard boxes must be flattened and cut to 3’x3’
- Brown paper grocery bags
- Paperback books (no hardcover books)
- NO used paper plates or pizza boxes, or fluorescent paper (they contaminate the paper stream with food, dye, or plastic coating) If pizza box top is clean you can tear it off and recycle it.
- 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)
NO Shredded Paper - Loose shredded paper causes major sorting problems in the Recycling Facility, so please save your documents for a
shred event or best practice is to tear off the confidential portion and recycle the rest of the sheet whole.
NO frozen food boxes, which are made of a hybrid of paper and plastic, and are not wanted by paper mills.
NO paper cups, which are also made of a hybrid of paper and plastic rendering them unrecyclable.
ALUMINUM CANS AND FOIL
- 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, Soup, and Juice cartons and boxes (please empty and rinse, do not crush or flatten, plastic nozzles and tabs can be left on)
GLASS BOTTLES AND JARS
- Food cans and lids (please empty and rinse, labels can be left on)
- Metal paint cans and lids (must be empty and dry, some dried paint residue is fine)
- Metal lids are recyclable
- NO utensils, spray cans (full or empty), 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
- BOTTLES (i.e. empty water, soda, juice bottles, empty laundry detergent, soap and shampoo bottles, empty health and beauty products and cleaner bottles) Replace plastic screw top caps on empty plastic bottles.
- TUBS (i.e. empty coffee, tofu, cottage cheese, yogurt, margarine tubs, fruit or lettuce boxes)
- JUGS (i.e. empty milk and juice jugs)
- JARS (ie. empty mayo and peanut butter jars) Replace plastic screw top lids on empty plastic 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)(do not put in the curbside bin, see Plastic Bag Recycling page)
- NO plastic utensils or plates (plastic wraps, sandwich bags, freezer bags, tarps)
- NO plastic cups, lids or straws
- NO flat plastic lids from tubs; lids must be screwed on to be recyclable
- 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 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.)
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!