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 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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  • 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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  • Where can I recycle televisions, computers, or other electronics?

    Visit your community’s website or call the City/Village recycling coordinator to see if there is a provision in the municipal recycling contract to have electronics picked up at your door. Non-tube televisions, monitors, and other electronics and can be taken to retailers such as Abt Electronics in Glenview, Best Buy, or Goodwill for recycling.  Please call to verify your items will be accepted and if there will be a fee. 

    SWANCC provides year-round and seasonal Electronics Recycling drop-off locations, as well as one-day events during the spring, summer and fall.  There is a limit of 7 items per household and drop-off locations will be closed on National Holidays and in severe weather. Residents of a SWANCC-member community may utilize any of the Agency’s options.


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  • 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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  • 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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  • How should recyclables be prepared?
  • 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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  • 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 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 dispose plastic bags or wraps?

    Empty and clean plastic bags and wraps can be recycled at store drop-off locations. More information about plastic bag and wrap recycling can be found at PlasticFilmRecycling.org provided by the American Chemistry Council.


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  • If I can't recycle my item curbside, is there another recycling option?

    Earth911provides a directory of locations to recycle may vairous items as well as information and resources on living sustainably. Visit their website at Earth911.com.

    TerraCycle® collects hard-to-recycle materials and turn them into new products. For more information on their programs and collection boxes visit terracycle.org.


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  • What do I need to know before attending a document destruction event?

    See SWANCC's Document Destruction page.

    How to prepare for a shredding event:

    • Paper must be dry, clean, and loose
    • Remove metal clips, plastic sleeves, folders, and binders (small staples are okay)
    • Place paper in paper shopping bags or cardboard boxes - NO PLASTIC BAGS - please!
    • Limited to six (6) bags or boxes

    NOT accepted:

    • NO – Photos or family albums
    • NO - Photo negatives
    • NO – Plastic credit or gift cards
    • NO - Plastic covers from check books or registers
    • NO - Store receipts
    • NO - Books
    • NO - Non-sensitive documents

    Recycle these in your curbside cart:

    • Magazines
    • Junk mail, ads, or coupons
    • Greeting cards or wrapping paper
    • Newspapers

    Find other options for paper shredding on SWANCC's Reuse and Recycling Directory .

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