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Just because packaging contains an image or statement that the product may be recyclable in your area doesn’t mean that you can recycle it in Lake County. What it means is the product or packaging is made for materials that are recyclable, but the key is whether there is a market for that material. In most cases the biggest confusion is found with plastics. Just because a plastic has a recycling symbol embossed on it, it may be a plastic that has little or no value to a recycling business. The best thing to do is review the Lake County Recycling Guidelines page to lean what materials are acceptable for recycling in Lake County and then try to only use products that are made of the types of materials that can be collected for recycling.
The practice of placing your personal shredded documents into a brown paper bag and including that bag in with your recycling is acceptable here in Lake County as the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) that your recyclables are sorted at agrees to accept shredded paper in this form. However, all current day MRF’s are highly automated system that, in their current configurations, do no not effectively recover loose shredded paper. The best assurance for your shredded paper to be recycled is for you to place it in a craft paper bag such as a paper grocery bag. Seal the bag of shredded paper closed by folding, rolling, stapling or taping it and then place it in your recycling cart. Do not put shredded paper in a plastic bag. At the MRF, plastic bags of shredded paper are immediately pulled from the other recyclables and sent to the landfill. Also, please be selective with what you shred. Shred only paper that contains sensitive information such as social security, bank account or credit card numbers. You might also want to consider collecting your documents and bringing them to a shredding event hosted by a local bank or municipal group, or take your documents to local business that provides document shredding for a fee. Paper shredding events and services that collect and shred paper send their shredded paper directly to a paper mill for recycling, it will never go through a MRF that processes traditional non-shredded papers, plastics, bottles and cans. For more information about local businesses in Lake County that offer shredding service please visit the Where Do I Recycle This? search tool on the swalco.org web site.
Plastic bags or wrap: i.e. grocery bags; newspaper bags; bread bags; produce bags; zip lock bags; toilet paper, napkin and paper towel wrap; case wrap; diaper wrap; dry cleaning bags; plastic retail bags; bubble wrap; air pillows, electronic wrap; furniture wrap as well as Tyvek and other plastic shipping bags or envelopes should NOT be placed in your recycling bin. Instead, please visit our Plastic Film and Bags page on the SWALCO.org website. This page was created to provide information about local drop offs for your use!
Please visit: http://www.swalco.org/294/Plastic-Film-Bags
Never put hangers (metal or plastic), hoses, wire, cords, cables, ropes, chain, clothing, textiles and shoes in your recycling bin. They get tangled up in the sorting machines causing costly downtime and will never be recycled. Garden hoses are typically made from PVC or vinyl and ARE NOT recyclable - Garden Hoses are regular trash items UNLESS they can be reused. In that case, contact your local donation facility to see if they are accepted.
At this time, Lake County municipal curbside recycling programs are not accepting #6 PS plastics, known as polystyrene. It comes in two forms, expanded foam (usually white and commonly called Styrofoam) and rigid (usually opaque, colored or clear). The expanded foam plastic is mostly air, often coated with food contaminants, and can cost up to 300% more than other commodities to recycle due to its lightweight nature, lack of market competition and high transportation costs. Lake County does have a drop off location for recycling of #6 polystyrene located at the City of Highland Park Recycling Center.
See the SWALCO’s Where Do I Recycle This directory for more information on other locations that accept #6 polystyrene plastics.
DO NOT place Styrofoam, polystyrene plastics: i.e. foam cups; foam to go containers; foam meat trays; foam egg cartons; foam coolers; foam product packaging or foam packing peanuts in your recycling.
Never put hangers (metal or plastic), hoses, wire, cords, cables, ropes, chain, clothing, textiles and shoes in your recycling bin. They get tangled up in the sorting machines causing costly downtime and may never be recycled. Contact your local donation facility to see if they are accepted or a local dry cleaner (mainly for metal ones).
Materials collected from municipal curbside programs will be taken to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), sorted into several categories or grades, each grade is baled and then sold to a manufacturer who will make new products from the materials. Watch how recyclables are sorted at the Waste Management Lake County Sorting facility
No, all acceptable recyclables can be collected and placed in your recycling bin commingled together, this is as known as single-stream recycling. Just be sure to keep all those recyclable materials loose in your bin. If you collect recyclables in plastic or paper bags in your home, be sure to empty all the recyclables out of those bags when you place them into collection bin that your waste hauler picks up.
Yes! We "BULK" gasoline, oil and antifreeze during all of our Household Chemical Waste events. This means you don't need to unnecessary transfer your waste.
When you arrive, simply let us know you'd like your container back!
There are exceptions of course, we typically can not accept large collection containers, such as chemical drums and the like, please call ahead with larger container or quantities.
Most Lake County municipalities contract with a single company to provide recycling and waste collection services, however, some residents and businesses (including those in unincorporated areas) may contract for these services on their own. For more information about establishing service, adding or replacing collection containers and billing matters, contact your local service provider or city/village officials. Please check out Your Community Program member pages. These pages will provide information about your neighborhood including your waste hauler.
Latex paint is not accepted at Household Chemical Waste (HCW) events because it is a non-hazardous waste. Please check out our Latex Paint Disposal page.
Alkaline batteries (AAA, AA, C, D 9v & 6v) are non-hazardous and may be disposed of in the regular trash. SWALCO does not accept alkaline batteries at any of our collections. Other options include drop off at retail stores that sell Alkaline Batteries such as Ace Hardware, Best Buy, Batteries Plus Bulbs, Home Depot, Lowes and Staples. Always call first to verify that they are accepting alkaline batteries and what if any volume limits they might have. Also check with the www.Call2Recycle.org website. For more information and options on safely disposing or recycling all forms of common batteries, please visit our "Batteries" page - Click Here.
For in-depth information please visit our Pharmaceutical Disposal Options page.
That's an easy one! We do have a periodic newsletter issued once a month (sometimes more, depending on the the activities). You can sign up on the main page of our website AND we do list all upcoming events under the News & Events section also located on the main page. To sign up for the newsletter: click here
Please check out Your Community Program member pages. These pages will provide information about your neighborhood.
While we don't collect propane or any other pressurized gases through any of our programs there are solutions to your disposal needs.
Ask the retailer if the canister can be returned for recycling or disposal when it’s empty. And please whenever possible, buy refillable, reusable propane tanks. There are a variety of refillable canister sizes on the market.
Or contact local vendors for more information. We have a few options on our Single-Use Propane Canister Page - Click Here.
SWALCO conducts 30 HCW collection events each year, 24 are held at the Gurnee facility and 5 are held at various locations throughout the County. These events are for household chemical waste from households only, no business generated wastes are accepted. We have a list of acceptable and non-acceptable items on the HCW Page.
In Illinois, this common kitchen appliance does not require any special disposal measures and are not included in the short list of items that are banned from disposal in Illinois landfills. Microwave ovens are not accepted at any of SWALCO’s collection programs and most curbside recycling programs do not accept them either. However, residents do have several options for managing microwaves including the following;
1. If the unit works, please check with your local charitable outlets, including local shelters.
2. Take it to your local metal scrap yard – you can find a few in our “Where Do I Recycle This” Directory OR type out “scrap yard” followed by your zip code into your choice of search engine and see what comes up. There may be a location closer to you.
3. If you’re buying a new microwave, check with the store to see if they’ll take the old one.
4. Call your waste hauler to inquire about disposal/recycling options.
Dehumidifiers (and air conditioning units, mini-refrigerators, wine coolers, etc.) typically contain a refrigerant commonly called Freon. Freon is a liquid or gaseous Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) that is used as the coolant. Since the late 1970s, the use of CFCs has been heavily regulated because of their destructive effects on the ozone layer. This is why dehumidifiers and other devices containing Freon/refrigerants are not allowed to be disposed of in the trash and are not accepted at SWALCO collection events.
The good news is that most scrap yards accept and provide safe disposal of items containing refrigerant. A list of local scrap yards can be found under our "Where do I recycle this?" directory. For more information about Dehumidifiers and other CFC containing appliances see our "Odds & Ends" section at the top of this page.
SWALCO does not provide shredding services however many municipalities host their own. We encourage you to reach out to your village to inquire.
SWALCO contracts with Electronic Recyclers International (ERI) to recycle the electronics. All electronics are manually or mechanically demanufactured within ERI's processing facility. All base metals, plastics and glass are then sold as a commodity. Hard drives and memory are shredded and added to the recycled metals. None of the electronics are reused, or exported as whole units.