Guide to Household Recycling

Recycling has been part of America’s lifestyle from colonial times to World War II and will play an important role in our future. During World War II, saving tin cans and grease drippings was considered critical to the war effort. Children went door-to-door to collect paper, aluminum, and other recyclables. It was not until the birth of the disposable society in the 1950s that it became acceptable to throw away rather than recover resources.

Some world resources are in danger of being exhausted and consumption of these resources continues to increase at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, increased consumption means increased waste. We should look for alternatives to the amount of solid waste disposed at the curb.

Recycling is practical and simple. We will always need landfills, because some wastes cannot be recycled. Recycling is one big step forward.

Why Recycle?

Recycling reduces the need for landfill space.
Every American discards about six pounds of solid waste each day. A family of four can expect to discard more than three tons of trash each year.
Recycling conserves energy.
Almost 66,000 kilowatt hours of electricity are needed to make one tone of aluminum from bauxite. One ton of aluminum recovered from recycled materials requires less than 6,000 kilowatt hours. That’s a savings of 92 percent! Recycling other household waste such as paper, steel cans and glass results in comparable energy savings.
Recycling saves natural resources.
The world’s supply of fossil fuels and mineral deposits is being rapidly depleted. Using recycled materials will slow the depletion of existing resources and decrease our dependence on foreign sources for petroleum and other materials.
Recycling protects our environment.
Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 tress. Many industries producing products from recycled materials cause less air and water pollution than industries producing the same product from raw materials.
Recycling helps solve solid waste issues.
About 80 percent of the solid waste generated each year still ends up in landfills. While recycling will not eliminate the use of landfills, it does divert material from disposal, thereby increasing the landfill space.

What Can Be Recycled?

Containers may be recycled in your area. Fluorescent light bulbs may also be recycled. Milk-white, plate glass, light bulbs and crystal cannot be recycled. Glass for recycling should be clean, metal caps and rings removed and separated by color.
Paper is classified into various grades.
Newspapers (0NP)
Newspapers, which are not bound by a glued edge, can be recycled. Newsprint often accounts for the largest part of waste from a household. It is also the easiest to recycle. It merely needs to be stacked in manageable bundles.
Cardboard (OCC)
Courrugated cardboard, commonly used for heavy-duty cartons, has two layers of heavy cardboard with a ribbed section in between. Individuals cannot recycle plastic coated or tar-lined corrugated cardboard. To recycle cardboard, break the box down so that it is flat.
Kraft Paper
Kraft paper is the brown paper used in grocery sacks and wrapping paper. It is often recycled with corrugated cardboard.
Hi-grade Paper
Hi-grade paper is shredded, repulped, de-inked and then recycled into bond paper, tissues, and wrapping paper. Purchase recycled paper whenever possible because it helps to increase the demand for recycled products.
Mixed Paper
Mixed paper is composed of all types of paper mixed together in some way. Most of this paper is found in packaging. Check with your local recycling center to determine the amount of separation to be done.
Metals can also be recycled.
Beverage cans and other clean household aluminum products can be recycled. It takes about 25 cans to make one pound of aluminum. To recycle aluminum cans, rinse and flatten the cans.
Other aluminum items such as foil plates, aluminum foil, and lawn furniture are recycleable. Aluminum can be recycled into new beverage containers, storm doors, gutters and a variety of other products.
Steel Cans
Steel cans are magnetic and have steamed sides. The typical food can is a good example. For recycling, these cans should be rinsed, end labels removed and flattened.
Other Metals
Items such as pipe, appliances, and sheet metal can be recycled.
Wiring and lead-acid batteries are also recyclable at scrap metal dealers.
Plastics (HDPE, PET)
Plastic soft drink containers and milk jugs are recyclable. Rinse and remove metal caps. Recycled plastic is used to make floor mats, fishing line, fiber filler for sleeping bags and vests and plastic lumber.
Motor Oil
If you change the oil in your car yourself, save the used oil in a leakproof container. Some service stations and recycling centers accept used oil. Make arrangements for properly disposing of motor oil before changing it. The oil is then shipped to a refinery where the impurities are removed. It is marketed as re-refined oil or an industrial fuel oil. For more information see the brochure “Household Guide to Automotive and Small Engine Product Disposal” published by the Illinois EPA.
Organic Wastes
Kitchen wastes and lawn trimmings can be used to enrich soil through composting. Composting is a controlled decaying process but must be properly maintained. To receive more information about composting, contact the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA) at (800) 252-8955 to get their brochure called “A Homeowners Guide to Recycling Yard Waste.”

How To Recycle At Home

Separating materials in the home is the best way to make recycling work. Once materials are put in the garbage they are more difficult to collect.

Some studies indicate it takes less than three minutes a day for a homeowner to recycle glass, cans, aluminum and newspaper.

Your home recycling center can be set up in a garage, closet, or kitchen corner. The materials required include boxes, grocery bags and a can opener.

A home recycling center can be set up with just three sturdy boxes: one each paper, cans, and glass.

Most people find a monthly trip to the collection center convenient. It takes very little time and can be combined with other trips. Your community may have a curbside pickup which you can participate in or help your local government to start.

There are many recycling operations in Illinois that buy various recycled materials. Check the local Yellow Pages under “recycling,” “waste paper,” or “scrap metals” to find a recycler in your area, or to get the name of your local recycling solid waste coordinator contact:

Illinois Protection Agency
Solid Waste Management Section
1021 North Grand Ave. East
P.O. Box 19276
Springfield, IL 62794-9276
Phone: (217) 785-8604
TDD: (217) 782-9143

For a copy of the recycling publications brochure contact Solid Waste Clearinghouse at (800) 252-8955.

Dept. of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA)
Information Distribution Center
620 E. Adams
Springfield, IL 62794-1892
Phone: (217) 785-2800
TDD: (217) 785-0211