Curbside Recycling

Packaging and other materials have changed significantly over the past several years, which has impacted how residents recycle. For example, Elgin used to accept plastic bags in our recycling, but we learned the plastic bags were wrapping around the recycling equipment and shutting down plants. So we’re asking residents NOT to place their recyclables in plastic bags or put any loose bags in the recycling cart. Instead, take plastic bags to Jewel or Target to recycle, and empty your recyclables directly into your carts. Extra recyclables that don’t fit in your recycling cart should be placed loose in a second recycling container.

Let’s rethink recycling and get back to basics. Here are 3 basic rules to keep in mind before you toss anything into your recycling cart:

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Recycle all empty plastic bottles,
cans, and paper

Keep food and liquids
out of recycling

Keep plastic bags out
of recycling bin.
No Bagged Recyclables.
Take plastic bags back to your local grocer.

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Acceptable Items

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Acceptable Items

Metal Items

  •  Aluminum cans, foil and formed containers
  • Steel or tin cans


  • Bottles
  • Clear, green and brown glass only
  • Jars

Paper Items

Large cardboard items must be flattened into pieces no larger than 3' x 3' square.

Examples of paper products that can be recycled include but are not limited to:

  • Magazines and catalogs (glossy and non-glossy) Shredded paper (Place in brown paper bag)
  • Mixed paper (staples are okay)
  • Newspapers and inserts

Plastic Items

Make sure that the numbered recycling symbol usually found on the bottom of plastic containers matches those accepted in the City of Elgin's recycling program. Numbers Accepted: 1, 2, 4, 5

Example products include but are not limited to:

  • Soda bottles
  • Laundry detergent containers
  • Milk and water bottles
  • Shampoo Bottles
  • Deli containers

Household Batteries

Batteries can be recycled through the City's At Your Door program. Click here to learn how to schedule a pickup. 

Unacceptable Items

Unacceptable curbside recyclable items include but are not limited to:

  • Plastic film like checkout plastic bags, plastic bags from dry cleaning or newspapers
  • Containers that once contained: motor oil, anti-freeze, pool chemicals, or hazardous waste
  • Scrap metal, hangers, plastic toys
  • Mirrors, window glass, Pyrex dishes or light bulbs
  • Polystyrene (i.e., Styrofoam) is not recyclable in the City of Elgin’s recycling program.

Waste Management Resources: Recycle Often, Recycle Right

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Recycling Myths

Most Common Recycling Contaminants

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Kane County Recycles

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