Daily, SWANCC staff receives inquiries from residents asking how to manage items that should not be thrown away due to reusability, recyclability, or the need for proper disposal.  Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions.  If you have other questions, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 847-724-9205.

All answers pertain to materials from residential households, not from businesses, schools, or institutions.


  • What materials can be recycled from my home?

    Here are the basic recycling guidelines for curbside programs in SWANCC communities.  Check with your village or city for updates.

     

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  • Where can I recycle televisions, computers, or other electronics?
  • How do I get rid of paint and other household chemicals?

    There are two basic types of house paints, latex and oil.  Latex paint is water based that does not contain hazardous chemicals and can be dried out and thrown away in the garbage cart – with lid off so the hauler knows the paint is completely dried.  There are also programs that charge a fee to recycle latex paint - listed in SWANCC’s Reuse and Recycling Directory.

    Oil-based paint contains harmful chemicals and needs to be taken to an Illinois Household Hazardous Waste Facility (HHW)

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  • What is the best way to get rid of old medications and sharps (needles)?

    There are a number of local, no-cost opportunities for residents to safely dispose of their unwanted and expired medications.

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  • How should recyclables be prepared?
  • Where can I recycle light bulbs that contain mercury?

    Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and fluorescent light tubes contain mercury and should not be thrown away in the garbage.  They are accepted at IEPA-sponsored Household Hazardous Waste sites for recycling.  Find other locations on SWANCC's Reuse and Recycling Directory .

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  • Since syrofoam cannot be recycled curbside, what are my options for recycling it someplace else?

    Polystyrene, known as Styrofoam, is made into two types; (1) expanded white blocks for packaging and (2) rigid which is clear for cups, cutlery, clam shells and more. Abt Electronics in Glenview only accepts white block Styrofoam, and the Dart Corporation in Aurora accepts a variety of Styrofoam products.  Each business is listed in SWANCC’s Reuse and Recycling Directory.

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  • Where can I recycle batteries?

    According to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, single-use Alkaline batteries AAA, AA, C, D 6v & 9v are classified as "non-hazardous" and may be safely disposed with household trash. When possible, recycle Alkaline batteries to recover metals including zinc, manganese, brass and steel.

    Lithium Primary and rechargeable Nickel Cadmium (NiCd), Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMh), and Lithium-Ion batteries contain mercury and other heavy metals and according to the IEPA, should be recycled.   These batteries are found in cordless electronics like power tools, laptop and tablet computers, cell and cordless phones, as well as some toys, power banks, home security alarms, cordless vacuums, toothbrushes, and other devices that are plugged in an outlet to recharge the battery.

    Because single-use Alkaline and Lithium batteries look amazingly similar, the best way to know is to read the label.  Always place individual Lithium batteries in a plastic zip baggie, wrap it in plastic film or tape the terminal end with duct or electrical tape before recycling or disposing in the garbage to eliminate the risk of sparking a fire. 

    Call2Recycle partners with retail stores such as Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowes that accept lithium primary and rechargeable batteries only – NO alkaline batteries!  Go to call2recycle.org/locator to find a location and for more information. 

    SWANCC sponsors a program for batteries.  Check with your Village/City to see if they collect these items from residents.

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  • How do I recycle large batteries?

    Lead acid batteries such as automotive, marine and sump pump are prohibited by IL State law from being disposed of in the trash.  See options for getting rid of these batteries at gas stations, auto parts stores, and other locations on SWANCC's Reuse and Recycling Directory .

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  • How do I get recycling at my condo or apartment building?

    Each condominium association and apartment building landlord contracts with a private hauling company to provide garbage service.  It is up to the managing company or landlord to include a recycling provision in the contract – which will be an additional fee.  Join forces with your neighbors to make this request.

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  • How do I dispose of smoke detectors?

    Ionization smoke detectors contain small amounts of radioactive materials. Never disassemble a smoke detector. Intact detectors pose little threat, but can be a health hazard if broken open. By federal regulation, all smoke detectors contain the mail-back address to send used units with radioactive chips. The address of the supplier may be listed in the product warranty or user's manual. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission suggests checking the label on the detector for disposal options, but residents may safely discard individual units in their regular garbage.

    Find other disposal options for smoke detectors SWANCC's Reuse and Recycling Directory .

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