Recycling & Garbage Removal

  • The City of Chicago is responsible for garbage removal for residents that live in a building of 4 units or less.

    Residents that do not qualify for city services are required to have a private hauling service but are entitled to a Refuse Rebate. More information about Refuse Rebates can be found here.

    • Blue carts should be placed next to your black cart in the alley or designated area and the materials are collected every other week.
    • The garbage placed in your black garbage cart is collected every week.
    • Yard waste placed next to your carts is collected every week between the months of April and November.

    If you have any questions regarding waste collection, please call Alderman Moreno’s Office at (773) 278-0101 or the 1st Ward Streets & Sanitation ward yard at (312) 744-5523.

    Blue Cart Recycling Basics

    If you do have city garbage pick-up then you will be automatically enrolled in the program and will receive a blue cart.  Once you receive the cart, begin to deposit recyclable materials including paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, tin and aluminum.

    Recyclables should be placed directly into the blue cart. Once the materials are collected, machines at the recycling plant will sort and separate the products. It is best to not place recyclables in bags, because this may slow down the processing of the materials.

    Therefore it may be a good idea to keep an extra garbage can or plastic bin next to the regular trash can inside your home.  When the cans are full, just place your bagged household trash in a black cart and your recyclables directly into the blue cart.

    The recyclables collected from the blue carts will be delivered to a recycling center and ultimately turned into new products.  Yard waste will be collected and turned into composting materials commonly used as an alternative to chemical fertilizers for soils.

    Recycling FAQ’s

    Q.  How does the Blue Cart program work?

    A.  Recyclables are collected every two weeks. Regular trash will still be picked up once a week as well as yard waste.

    Q.  Do I have to pay for the blue recycling cart?

    A.  No.

    Q.  What can I recycle?

    A.  Residents can recycle containers and paper materials, including paper, cardboard, plastics, and aluminum in their blue recycling cart.   For a full list of acceptable and unacceptable materials, visit www.bluecartschicago.org.

    Q.  Should I separate my recyclables into plastic or paper bags before I place them in my blue cart?

    A.  No.  All recyclables should be cleaned and placed directly into the blue cart.  Once the recyclables are collected, the machines at the recycling plant will sort and separate the products.  If the recyclables are in a bag, it will stall some of the processing and this way you can recycle your bag instead of generating more waste!

    Q.  Will my yard waste still be collected?

    A.  Yard waste will be picked up separately once a week during the months of April through November.  All yard waste should be collected separately, placed in a tightly sealed bag, and set out next to your blue recycling cart. Yard waste includes grass clippings, leaves, and branches.

    Q.  Will I be included in the program?

    A.  To participate in the Blue Cart program you must be a 1st Ward resident and live in a single-family home or a building of up to 4 units.  Residents living in buildings of more than four units will not be able to participate in the program because the City of Chicago does not pick up garbage from those residences. Building managements and waste haulers are required by City ordinance to provide a recycling system to all residents.

    Q.  Where can I recycle household hazardous wastes?

    A.  Household Products and Electronics Collection and Training Center (HPECTC) accepts common household items such as batteries, electronics, household chemicals, and even old medicines.  Please note that the 1st Ward Office also accepts batteries to recycle.

    HPECTC, located at 1150 N. North Branch Street, is two blocks east of the Kennedy Expressway at Division Street and open for drop-off on selected days.

    Hours of Operation:

    Tuesday:  7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
    Thursday:  2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
    The first Saturday of every month: 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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