Reycle with GoGreen La Grange
One important way that we can preserve the planet for future generations is to eliminate or significantly reduce what is disposed of through the solid waste stream. Recycling and donating items are vital strategies for achieving this goal.

Learn About Your Community's Recycling Services

La Grange and many other nearby communities offer recycling as part of waste hauling and collection services: Go Green LaGrange encourages you to brush up on the curbside recycling services offered by your town. If you live in an apartment building or other multi-family property, you may not be serviced by your community's contracted service. Instead, seek information from your property manager/landlord.

Find out exactly what you can recycle through your curbside services. Most services recycle glass, metal, and paper. Many plastic bottles and containers are also recyclable - but not all. NPR provides a good summary of what plastics are recyclable. And DuPage County warns against wish cycling.

Also, be sure to follow instructions on how to prepare your recyclables for pick up. This will help ensure that items are truly recycled.

See Also: Composting

Learn Where to Recycle or Donate Other Items

Not everything can be recycled through your community's waste hauling services. Go Green LaGrange collects some common items at the Farmer's Market and other events. We've also identified other local and not-so-local resources for recycling and donating.

If you know of other local resources, please contact Go Green LaGrange at [email protected].

Sections

Other options for local recycling: SCARCE in Addison. In addition, you can search Earth911 for where to recycle a variety of items.

Appliances

When buying a new fridge, dishwasher, or other large appliance, Best Buy, Lowes, ABT, and other retailers will haul away your old one for recycling. ABT also donates appliances in good shape to Salvation Army and other nonprofits.

In addition, ABT recycles small appliances for free.

Additional Thoughts

ComEd offers rebates on energy-efficient appliances. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 also provides federal tax credits and incentives to home owners for certain energy-efficient changes, such as installing heat pumps.

See Also:

See Reuse for information on repairing appliances.

Batteries - Auto and Marine

Recycling your used vehicle or boat battery is quick and easy. Just drop it off at a local retailer - including AutoZoneO'Reilly Auto PartsAdvance Auto Parts, and CarQuest - and they do the rest. Some retailers will grant you a store credit for your used battery even if you don't purchase a new one.

BatteriesPlus also accepts a variety of batteries that power vehicles, including lead acid batteries from golf carts, mowers, sump pumps, etc. Nearest locations in Oak Lawn, Villa Park, and Oak Park. Call ahead for details.

Stay tuned for where to recycle electric car batteries. Argonne's ReCell Center is actively looking into advanced EV battery recycling.

Additional Thoughts

If you really want to be a wonk on recycling batteries, visit Argonne's EVER BATT.

Batteries - Household

Go Green LaGrange collects household batteries for recycling, at a small cost to you, once a year at the Farmers Market. Check the calendar for this year's collection date.

Other recycling options:

Countryside Police Department (Joliet Rd & Brainard) is accepting alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, etc). But only from Countryside residents.

BatteriesPlus accepts a variety of batteries.

Big Green Box has a "Mini" box for $36 that families and/or a group of friends or neighbors can purchase to recycle household batteries.

You can also search for a battery drop-off location at Call2Recycle.  

Additional Thoughts

Switch to rechargeable batteries. They are better for the environment, easier on the pocketbook, and are easy to recycle. Home Depot and Horton's Ace Hardware in La Grange, accept rechargeable batteries.

Bikes

You may send bikes and parts to Working Bikes, which repairs and gives bikes to people in the local area and across the globe.

Or consider The Recyclery (7628 N Paulina, Chicago; 773-262-5900). You can donate used bikes, bike parts, and tools (no helmets). Call ahead.

Bread Tags

Go Green LaGrange collects plastic bread tags every week at the Farmer's Market to ship to the Danielle Care for Chairs, Carmel, Ind. via SCARCE. The nonprofit collects millions of bread tags from around the country, delivers them for recycling, and then uses the proceeds from recycling to buy wheelchairs for people in need. The organization recently gifted its 15th wheelchair to a child!

Check out Danielle Cares for Chairs for a great story.

Books, DVDs, CDs, Etc.

If the items are in good shape, try unloading books, movies, records, video games, and comics at Half Price Books in Countryside (14 Countryside Plaza; 708-579-1770). The store pays $$$$ (pennies).

Alternatively, your local library may have a donation program for books, records, DVDs, CDs, etc.

Other options:

Bras

Go Green LaGrange collects bras once a year at the Farmer's Market. Check the calendar for this year's collection date.

Even Titslinger, the fabled inventor of the brassiere, would be amazed at the number of bras we collect!

We bring the bras to the lingerie store SOMA in Oakbrook Center. SOMA (an affiliate of Chico's) donates new and gently used bras to the nonprofit I Support the Girls, which provides bras to women who are homeless, impoverished, or subject to domestic abuse. If the bras are not in good enough condition to be reused, SOMA will donate them to The Bra Recyclers, another nonprofit that specializes in recycling all the parts of the bra (cloth, fasteners, etc.) 

You can also drop bras off yourself at SOMA, next to Ann Taylors at Oakbrook Center (630-571-1773). If you have an account with SOMA or Chico's, you can earn a $5 store credit for each bra donated (up to two per month).

Cars

Consider donating your old car to Habitat for Humanity, which fixes up and sells old cars to finance future Habitat homes. Habitat for Humanity is taking steps to build energy-efficient homes. For instance, Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity plans to build 17 net-zero homes in Aurora.

Other options: WBEZ may take that jalopy that still runs. Even Goodwill takes cars.

Christmas Trees (Real)

Check if your community's refuse services include pick up of real Christmas trees and greenery.

In La Grange, holiday greenery collection and pickup are free of charge and will take place the first two weeks of January. Holiday greenery must have all tinsel, ornaments, lights, and nails removed before being placed out at the curb for pickup. Collection of holiday greenery after the third week of January will be billed as a bulk item pick up on your next invoice.

See Also

See Rethink to learn about composting options for Christmas greenery and other plant life.

Clothes and Supplies for Babies and Young Children

Here are some options:

Clothes and Jewelry for Adults

Options include Goodwill, usagain, and Sharing Connections.

Corks

"Put a Cork n It."

Go Green LaGrange collects corks every Thursday (May-October) at the Farmer's Market. So, save your corks and drop them off. No plastic corks - only natural corks.

We also pick up corks from local restaurants, including 1416, The Elm, Steak & Vine, and Luccas.

We ship the corks to ReCork, which is North America's largest cork recycling program. ReCork grinds down corks, which is then used to create other products, including cork soles for shoes.

Additional Thoughts:

Plastic corks or screw tops on wine bottles often get tossed in the garbage (not good).

See Also

Turn corks into art. See Reuse.

Cooking Oil

Do you have oil from that deep-fried 22 lb. turkey or deep-fried Twinkies? Leftover oil can be deposited in the "Mahoney Bin" in the alley just south of Tate's Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Shop (behind Aging Care Connections).Learn more about oil recycling at Mahoney Environmental.

Another Chicago-area option: Green Grease Environmental, which partners with restaurants and heavy users.

Additional Thoughts

Did you know cooking oil is used as aviation fuel? Look up "sustainable aviation fuel" (SAF). Here is more on this topic: U.S. DOE Releases Roadmap to Achieve Carbon Neutral Aviation Emissions.

Electronics

Bob's TV & Metal Pickup. Call 630-235-0387 for more information. Mailing address is 435 Custer, Lyons; garage is on Plainfield Rd. Bob picks up anything with a plug attached (except old wood TVs) as well as pots and pans, Xmas lights, cords and cables, and metal stuff. You can also drop off stuff next to his garage if the stuff fits his collection list. Bob is a good guy according to patrons. Used by local community groups. Been around for over 10 years.

Other options:

Additional Thoughts

Learn about Illinois' Electronic Recycling Program.

Eyeglasses

Ask your eye doctor or the store where you buy glasses if they accept old eyeglasses (prescription and non-prescription).

Other local options:

Fabric/Textiles/Old Clothes (Not Blankets)

Go Green LaGrange collects textiles (old underwear, T Shirts, sheets, towels, whatever) at the Farmers Market every Thursday morning from May to October.

We give a lot of what we collect to Chicago Textile Recycling (aka Wipe It), which does the following with donated material: If you prefer, you can drop textiles into one of Chicago Textile Recycling's collection bins. Call 708-544-7247 to find a bin closet to you. (Note: No blankets or pillows)

Another option for old blankets and towels: Check with your local animal shelter, vet, or Humane Society to see if they have a need.

Fire Extinguishers

Check if your local fire department is accepting drop-offs. If not, you can take extinguishers to a hazardous waste disposal facility, along with other hazardous waste: This option is only for Illinois residents - not businesses, schools, or institutions.

Flags

Old, torn? Bring to the American Legion lot. Like a big mail box
Robert E. Coulter, Jr., Post 1941, 900 S. La Grange Road, La Grange, IL 60525-2936.

Flowers

Please see information under Vases.

Furniture and Other Household Items

The Chicago Furniture Bank (CFB) has been recommended to Go Green LaGrange by a trusted person. You can donate furniture and other large household items to CFB. The nonprofit gives these items to people transitioning out of homelessness. CFB also takes mattresses in good-condition. A monetary donation may be requested to help cover costs. CFB partners with the Honest Junk Company to cart away items that are not in good shape.

Home 2 Home Project in Hodgkins (708-505-5496) accepts donations of furniture and other items to help homeless families transition into independent living.

For more on helping the homeless in our community, check out BEDSPlus as well.

Sharing Connections in Downers Grove accepts furniture, household supplies, baby items, and clothing for families in need.

Other options for donating furniture include national charities like AmVets and Salvation Army. Always good to call ahead before wasting gas to drop off furniture and getting a "not today."

Guns/Bullets

Call ahead to the La Grange Police Dept to set a time to drop off that old gun (and/or bullets).

Hangers (Metal)

Ruby Cleaners (6 W. Burlington; just east of La Grange Rd.) accepts metal hangers.

Cleaners at 55th & Plainfield (Marshall Shopping Center Across from Fuller's Car Wash) will only take back hangers sourced from its plant.

Breen's Cleaners on Hillgrove will also only accept hangers from its own store. Breen's also recycles plastic bags.

Hazardous Materials (Household)

Here are some options: Also, the Illinois EPA provides information on disposing of various types of wastes, including hazardous.

Jars (Glass)

Please see information under Vases.

LEGOS®

Go Green LaGrange collects LEGOS once a year at the Farmer's Market. Barbie and Ken and friends also accepted. Check the calendar for this year's collection date.

If not taken by Jan Regan, La Grange Arts League, for kid's art classes, we donate the used bricks to LEGO Replay, a program of LEGO that shares the power of play with children who need it most.

Alternatively, you can ship used LEGOS to LEGO Replay yourself.

Light Bulbs

According to an article from Home Depot, different types of light bulbs should be disposed of in different ways. It's worth reading the whole piece. But here's a summary:

Makeup and Skin Care Containers

You can drop off your empty skin care and hair care products, compacts, makeup jars, bottles, and tubes at the Beauty Department of Nordstrom in Oakbrook Center. Learn about Nordstrom's commitment to recycle.

If you use MAC Cosmetics, you can drop jars, etc. at Ulta Beauty, Macys, or Nordstroms.

In addition, Go Green LaGrange collects used skin care and makeup products once a year at the Farmer's Market. Check the calendar for this year's collection date.

Additional Thoughts

Go deeper with 37 Best Refillable Makeup, Hair, And Skin Care Products Of 2022 for A Sustainable Beauty Routine in Verve Times.

Mattresses

Elegant Mattress Inc (2845 W. 48th Place, Chicago; 872-444-5875) will take mattresses in good condition (not stained). Charges $5 to pick up.

The Chicago Furniture Bank will also take a mattress in good condition.

Medical Sharps and Needles

You can drop home-generated sharps/needles off at the Westmont Police Department (500 N. Cass) in the red box container in the lobby, Monday-Friday, 8-3 pm. (Email: [email protected]).

Additional Thoughts

Learn more about the safe disposal of sharps and needles. Sharps should never be thrown loosely into the trash or toilet. Sharps that retract after use, or are very small, should be disposed of like all other sharps.

Medical Supplies and Equipment

Project C.U.R.E. in Woodridge accepts beds, crutches, sleep apnea equipment, and many other medical supplies and equipment.

The Mending Lending Closet of Holy Guardian Angels Church (formerly St. Barbara's) also takes medical equipment in good shape. Call first. Located at 9300 W. 47th St, Unit 1E, Brookfield; 708-295-7336.

Metal Materials

Generate instant cash at United Scrap (1545 S Cicero; North of 22nd/Cermak) for rebar, wiring, crowbar, steel file cabinets, gutters and downspouts, metal coat hangers, lead pipes, and other metals. Open from 6 to 6 weekdays.

Current steel scrap price is $140.00 per gross ton. (For 18 lbs. of coat hangers, received $1.12. About $0.06/lb.) You, too, can become a "junker." Aluminum cans and copper get much more $$.

Another option is Cozzi Recycling in Melrose Park.

See Also

Pop Tops

Musical Instruments

Music in Schools Today (MUST) recycles used musical equipment and donates to public schools needing help.

The Old Town School of Folk Music will accept many instruments in playable and good condition. Please call or email ([email protected]) before dropping off your donations to double check. They accept acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins, ukuleles, banjos, violins, and hand drums in working order.

SCARCE also takes music instruments.

If anyone knows of a local source seeking used musical equipment, please contact Go Green LaGrange.

Paper/Magazines/Mail

You can recycle most paper through your community's recycling program or wherever you put your clean cardboard.

Paper Retriever Another recycling option: Paper Retriever (dumpster) on the SW corner of 55th and East Avenue. East side of the Helping Hand building parking lot. Proceeds may benefit Helping Hand.

Additional Thoughts

Stop all that junk mail, including unwanted catalogs, from ever getting to you in the first place. Learn how.

Pills (Unwanted/Expired)

To dispose of pills, capsules, tablets, etc. that you no longer need or have expired, take them to the La Grange Police Department (304 Burlington) and put them into a secured medication box in the lobby.

The Illinois EPA and DuPage County list many other locations that accept unused medications.

Note:
Never flush medicines down the toilet. The Village of La Grange explains why.

Do not drop medical sharps and needles off with unused medications. Needles and sharps can be brought to Westmont Police Department.

Additional Information

Effective December 2023: A new (2022) Illinois law (HB 1780) will make drug manufacturers responsible for covering the costs of disposing of all medications collected as part of a centralized, statewide collection network.

Also check out MyOldMeds.com and MED-Project. Good stuff.

Pill Containers (Empty)

Go Green LaGrange collects empty pill containers on Thursday morning at the La Grange Farmers Market (May to October). To protect your privacy, please remove the labels. (Here's one way to remove labels quickly and easily) The pill containers will be taken to the local Walgreens.

Alternatively, you can drop Rx containers off yourself (labels removed) at the local Walgreens near tracks and La Grange Road.

Plastic Bags and Wrap

Near the entrance door to most grocery stores (for example, Jewel, Mariano's, Target), there should be a receptacle clearly marked for disposal of plastic bags. Many stores also accept plastic bread bags, dry cleaning plastic covers, and other plastic wraps.

For instance, see what plastic bags and wraps are accepted by Albertson's/Jewel-Osco.

Your biggest fear, with the shortage of workers, is that the plastic bags wind up in the dumpster out back. Good one = Jewel in La Grange Park.

Additional Thoughts

California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington have all banned single-use plastic bags and auxiliary containers in one form or another. Illinois? One can hope...

Could fungi be the answer to plastic waste? On November 21, 2022, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on biological recycling, or bio-recycling. This emerging technology uses microbes, such as bacteria or fungi, to break down plastic into its basic components for reuse. According to GAO, research suggests that bio-recycling of plastics could help promote a circular economy in which plastic waste is continuously reincorporated into new products.

Pop Tops from Aluminum Cans

Go Green LaGrange collects pop tops on Thursday morning at the La Grange Farmers Market (May to October). We donate them to the Ronald McDonald House near Loyola University Medical Center. The charity gets money for the pop tops through metal recyclers.

Many local schools also collect pop tops. You can also drop them off at any Ronald McDonald House location in the Chicago area.

Pumpkins

La Grange sponsors a Pumpkin SMASH in November, usually the first Saturday after Halloween. Remove the candles and inside stuff and decorations.

Shoes

Children’s Community Closet of LaGrange Park accepts gently worn children’s shoes and boots. These donations are then made available for FREE to the public 2 days per month. Donations may be left in one of the 24-hour bins behind St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 501 E. 31st Street, LaGrange Park. (Entry to the parking lot is off Sherwood Avenue. Bins are just past the back entrance.) Volunteers are needed weekly to help sort donated items. If interested in volunteering or have any other questions, please email: [email protected] for more information.

Go Green LaGrange collects used shoes - those 4-inch heels, goulashes, boots, tennies, dress Florsheim, old Clarks, sandals, whatever (even singles) - on Thursday mornings at the La Grange Farmers Market (May to October) and at other events.

We send the shoes to Soles4Souls, a nonprofit sponsored by Zappos, that reconditions the shoes and sends them around the world for use by people experiencing hardships. Shoes that are in bad shape (or missing their pairs) are ground up into playground cushiony stuff.

If you miss us at the Farmers Market, you can drop off shoes in one of the many Soles4Souls collection boxes in the local area. JAYNES on Harris has a drop-off box just inside front door during business hours.

Alternatively, you can ship the shoes for free courtesy of Zappos.

Or you can also drop off slightly used shoes at DSW in Oak Brook.

Smoke/CO2 Detectors

Most smoke detectors typically fall into two categories: photoelectric and ionization.

Old photoelectric detectors can generally be tossed in regular trash. (Take out the batteries first and recycle those separately.)

However, ionization detectors contain a small amount of Americium 241, a radioactive isotope. When in use, these detectors are perfectly safe, as the radioactive material is shielded by a metal chamber inside the device. If dismantled, however, the radioactive material can become exposed. For this reason, you should never try to take apart an old ionization detector.

To determine whether or not your detector is an ionization type, look on the back; it should either have the letter "I" or say ionization. Or there may be a label warning about radioactive material on the back of detector.

First Alert has a complimentary disposal program for intact ionization smoke detectors (postage not included). These must be First Alert, BRK, Family Gard, or Onelink brand.

The U.S. Post Office has also posted a list of manufacturers that accept old smoke/CO2 detectors for proper disposal.

You can also bring detectors to SCARCE, in Addison. The nonprofit charges a small fee per detector.

Sports Equipment

Soccer: Peace Passers accepts gently used soccer equipment - balls, shoes, shin guards, gloves, sets of team jerseys and shorts - and redistributes them to communities in need. See detailed donation information.

Local AYSO Commissioner in La Grange Park has agreed to accept the annual collection by Go Green LaGrange of soccer equipment at the Farmers Market. (Check the Farmers Market calendar.)

Tennis balls: APT Layhold is turning used tennis balls into tennis courts. You can ship used tennis balls for a fee. Elmhurst Park District also accepts used tennis balls.

Other sports: If your kid grows out of those expensive hockey skates or your daughter has upgraded to a more expensive tennis racket, you may want to consider Play It Again Sports in Westmont (233 W Ogden; 630-810-9811). Check the website to see what they currently need. No junk stuff. You might get some trade-in money.

Styrofoam

Western Springs sponsors a free styrofoam recycling event on the first Saturday of every month. Volunteers accept drop-offs of clean Styrofoam (no peanuts) between 9 and noon near the Community Center parking lot and garages in Western Springs, just north of the BNSF tracks. The foam is brought to Dart Container.

STOROpack in Hillside (320 Craig Place; 708-547-8030) accepts Styrofoam packing peanuts - both white and pink peanuts but must be separated. Open Mon-Fri. 8-5.

Additional Thoughts

What happens to the stryofoam that is collected for recycling? Check out one use by the Perfect Block.  You will love the video. 

Dart Container says the material is eventually turned into crown molding, picture frames, and other items.

Tires

Nothing local. K&S Tire Recycling in Chicago Heights accepts tires (303 S. State; 312-805-8266) K&S charges $3 per tire to recycle.

In Chicago, there's also Liberty Tire (2044 N Dominick, near Webster & Ashland on the North Branch of the Chicago River).

In addition, if you buy tires for your car, Discount, Firestone, Costco, and other retailers will recycle your old ones for a fee in the $3.00 to $5.00 range.

Tools

The Chicago Tool Library (4015 W. Carroll Ave. Chicago) accepts donations of various tools, ranging from table saws to sewing machines to camping tents. Check the nonprofit organization's donation list and hours of operation before dropping off any tools.

Vases

Interfaith Community Partners (ICP) uses small-medium vases for their Petal Pushers program. Primarily, ICP provides rides to older adults (60+) who no longer drive. Additionally, ICP offers outreach services including flower delivery for clients' birthdays and special occasions, through ICP's Petal Pushers program.

Small-medium vases and upcycled jars are most useful and can be dropped off at the Interfaith Community Partners (ICP) office in the First Presbyterian Church of La Grange, or left outside the door with the ICP logo at the northeast corner of Catherine and Elm.

Note: Please remove labels from upcycled jars.

ICP is thrilled to be part of the Bloom ‘n Toss network which works to extend the life and impact of flowers that would otherwise be thrown away.

Through Bloom ‘n Toss, ICP receives flower donations from Mariano's that would otherwise be thrown out, like produce after a certain date. ICP's Petal Pusher volunteers make these flowers into arrangements to be delivered to older adult clients. To volunteer with Petal Pushers (arranging flowers or delivering them) please contact Amy Watkins, Community Outreach Coordinator at [email protected]

You may recycle sympathy and wedding flowers, as they can also be used by ICP’s Petal Pushers to be recreated into arrangements for ICP clients.