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Recycling Right: What Materials Are Actually Accepted

Group of Children Gathering Recyclable ItemsAs a Lincoln Park renter, you may be thinking about what you can do to live more sustainably. For a lot of people, sustainable living starts with recycling plastic, cardboard, or other materials. But what many don’t realize is that not all of these things can be recycled. Just because an item is made of plastic, glass, metal, or cardboard doesn’t imply that it is recyclable. And putting non-recyclable items into a recycling bin is kind of a gigantic waste of time for you as well as the processing center. Here are some things that may help you recycle the right way.


To know which plastic materials are recyclable and which aren’t, the professionals suggest going by container shape. A typical rule would be that plastic bottles, jugs, jars, and tubs can be recycled. Just really make certain to rinse out and dry each container before placing it in the recycling bin.

But mind you, the list of plastic items that cannot be recycled is kind of long, so don’t let it surprise you. To cite an example, plastic utensils and straws are not recyclable, while plastic food containers and water bottles usually are. Some other objects that cannot be recycled include Styrofoam, plastic shower curtains, syringes, and medical waste.

Also, plastic shopping bags, shrink wrap, and other kinds of the plastic wrap should not go to your recycling center. These materials usually clog up the machines, and they also end up in the landfill. So instead, these materials are usually recycled separately at drop-off locations in grocery stores. Finally, do not place recycling in bags – the bag will cause challenges at the processing center.


Recycling glass can be more complicated than a lot of people think, mainly because processing centers don’t take in some types of glass. In certain places, the centers don’t allow any glass at all. While there are certain places that will only accept a specific kind of glass. Be certain to check the rules at your local processing center prior to putting glass items in the bin.

However, there are some types of glass that are just not recyclable at all. Some examples would be windows and mirrors, eyeglasses, vases, oven-safe ceramic cookware or dishes, and fluorescent light tubes. Due to the fact that these items have been treated with coatings or contain hazardous chemicals, they can in no way be safely recycled and should be disposed of through other processes.


The same as glass, not all processing centers permit metal for recycling. Generally speaking, if you own metal items and would want to recycle them, you’ll need to search for a place specializing in metal recycling. The majority of regular processing centers will not take in metals like car parts, propane cylinders, aerosol cans, clothes hangers, and so on.

In the same way, old televisions and electronics cannot be easily sent to your local recycling center. The electronic components of these materials can become more complex than most recycling centers can handle. Instead, try to look for a certain local electronics shop that will allow your old electronics. Certain companies will allow old electronics, including cell phones and tablets, that are broken or no longer wanted.

Cardboard, Paper, and Wood

Particular kinds of cardboard, paper, and wood can be safely recycled, while others are to be placed in the trash bin instead. Most processing centers allow newspapers, notebook paper, and magazines. It’s the same for flattened packing boxes, cereal boxes, and food delivery boxes. Untreated wood items are typically fine, but it depends on what materials your local recycling center is willing to take.

Still, it’s vital to note that certain cardboard, paper, and wood types are not recyclable. This includes grease-soaked pizza boxes (some oil is acceptable), waxed paper cartons, and treated wood, including painted or stained furniture. Books and some types of paper are also not recyclable, so you would need to separate your paper items carefully prior to putting them in the trash bin.


By recycling the correct way, you can do a lot to help your community as a renter. However, if your neighborhood is not able to support your desire for more sustainability, Real Property Management Chicago Edge can help! You can check out our listings online or call at 773-904-7700.

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