Recycling Do's and Don'ts

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The City offers recycling service to residents either through City crews or through contracted services with a private hauler. The recycling program is the same no matter if you are recycling downtown, at your home, or at the office. Evanston's recycling program is single stream meaning all recyclable items can be placed into the same container for recycling collection.

Recycling is important for a variety of reasons including it: can lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, keeps valuable materials out of the landfill, prevents virgin materials from having to be mined and collected, is cheaper to dispose of than trash and can help reduce litter. Evanston has a longstanding history of supporting waste reduction practices and our recycling program is one great example. Below you will find an exhaustive list of the items that can be recycled, the items that cannot be recycled and guidelines on how to properly prepare your items for recycling collection.

Acceptable Items for Recycling

Cans and Foil:

  • Steel (tin) cans & bi-metal cans
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Aluminum beverage & pet food cans
  • Clean aluminum foil & foil containers
  • Empty, clean paint cans
  • Metal lids and bottle caps


  • Newspapers & inserts (remove plastic bags)
  • Junk mail (opened) (Junk Mail Reduction)
  • Office paper (all colors, including envelopes & fax paper)
  • Gift wrap paper & tissue (unlined), kraft paper & greeting cards
  • Magazines, catalogs, phone books & soft cover books
  • Cardboard (flattened)
  • Chipboard including cereal boxes, tissue boxes, paper towel & toilet paper rolls, shoe & food boxes (flattened)
  • Egg cartons
  • Paper bags
  • Shredded paper
  • Juice boxes and milk cartons (clean)


  • All colors of glass bottles & jars. You do not need to remove labels. Rinse.


  • Containers, bottles & lids labeled #1, #2, #3, #4 & #5, including liter soda bottles; milk, water & juice containers; food containers; liquid detergent, fabric softener, bleach & shampoo bottles. Rinse. Caps ok.
  • Containers (narrow neck only) labeled #7
  • Six pack & 12 pack rings
Recycling Educational Materials
The Following Items are NOT Accepted by the City's Recycling Service:

 Plastic bags or packaging

 #6 plastic  (polystyrene)

 Foam packaging  (styrofoam)

Polylactide (PLA) containers (e.g. corn starch or sugar cane based)

  Scrap metal

 Cookware or utensils

 Partially filled aerosol or paint cans


  Wax coated paper products

 PLA coated paper (includes coffee cups and pet food bags)

  Hard bound books

 Paper towels

 Food-contaminated paper (e.g. greasy pizza boxes)

 Film or photos


 Ceramics or glassware

 Window glass or mirrors

 Light bulbs

 Pesticide/Herbicide containers




Learn more about how to recycling plastic film/bags through the City's: Plastic Film Collection and Share-a-Bag.

Visit the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County's Green Pages Reuse and Recycling Directory to seek outlets for items that are not collected through Evanston's program. 

Missed Collections

To report a missed recycling or yard waste collection call 311

Holiday Trash and Recycling Collection Schedule - check the holiday collection schedule for important information on garbage and recycling collection on holidays.

Report missing carts to 311 or 847-448-4311

Replacement carts are available for lost and damaged carts at no charge. Contact 311 or 847-448-4311 to order a replacement cart.

Preparing Materials for Recycling Pick-Up

Precycle - avoid buying products in containers that cannot be recycled.

Rinse all bottles, cans and containers. Flatten cardboard boxes and larger containers. Labels and plastic caps do not need to be removed. Place cans, bottles and paper together in your container.

Please don't package materials in plastic bags. Use paper bags instead and take plastic bags to the grocery store or select Evanston community centers for recycling (for drop off locations visit Plastic bags are not recycled through the City of Evanston's blue cart recycling program.

Set your container out by 7 a.m. on your collection day. Please note that condominium recycling will be picked up on Fridays rather than your regularly scheduled collection day. Put your address on your container and keep it in a safe place between collection days.


Return to the Trash, Recycling, and Yard Waste Services main page.