Where To Recycle What In Lake County

We’ve all got it. Clothes and shoes that are past the point of donation. Extra hardware from projects that didn’t sell at the garage sale. And old broken metal file cabinet. Or maybe it’s that snap press that you bought to change your cloth diapers from Velcro to snaps. (Or was that just me??) If you have stuff that needs to be recycled, then read on to find out where to recycle what in Lake County.

where to recycle lake county

When I lived in Okinawa, Japan there were eleven different categories of garbage. Yes, you read that right, eleven! Every week we had normal garbage, but the other ten categories were recyclable and toxic materials. Every Wednesday, for example was tin can day. Okinawa was a small island that needed to recycle everything they could because there wasn’t much space for the garbage to sit at the dump.

Here in the US, we don’t take our recycling and garbage categories as seriously as Japan, but we are fortunate enough in Lake County to have garbage, recycling and yard waste removal on a weekly basis. But you’d be surprised at the amount of things that many people throw away that can be recycled!  Here is a list of everything that you can recycle every week with your normal garbage/recycle pick up.


  • newspaper
  • magazines (glossy and non-glossy)
  • telephone directories
  • office and school paper
  • advertising/junk mail
  • brown paper bags
  • corrugated cardboard
  • paperboard and chipboard: cereal boxes, pasta boxes, clothing boxes, tissue boxes


  • all plastic bottles with the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 inside the triangle on the bottom
  • all plastic beverage and food containers
  • all liquid detergent, softener, bleach, and shampoo containers
  • yogurt cups
  • all vegetable oil bottles


  • all tin, aluminum or steel cans


  • all brown, green or clear bottles and jars


  • juice boxes
  • milk containers

Print your own handy reminder of the Recycle First, Trash Last campaign.


Items that can NOT be included in your weekly recycling pick up (and alternative options):

  • Styrofoam- The City of Highland Park offers stryofoam labeled with the number 6.
  • Hangers – Metal dry cleaning hangers can be recycled at any Zengeler Cleaners location.
  • soiled paper/cardboard (Pizza boxes and greasy cardboard containers are NOT recyclable.)
  • Lightbulbs – Batteries+ Bulbs recycles certain light bulbs. Call your nearest location to confirm. Ace, Home Depot and Lowe’s will also recycle CFL bulbs, call your local store for details
  • Anything that can be plugged in -See SWALCO for accepted list of electronics recycling – The Village of Grayslake has electronic recycling drop off Monday – Saturday. Other municipalities offer drop-off at select times or days. Check with your city.
  • Batteries. Batteries+ Bulbs recycles certain batteries. Call your nearest location to confirm.

Recycling Other Items:
The Solid Waste County of Lake County (SWALCO) has plenty of resources (and recycling and collection events) to help you find places to recycle many household items:

Musical Instruments:
Musical instruments can be donated via the Ravinia District and Ravinia Festival via the following businesses: Design Quartet @ Ravinia, Field Violin, Full Circle Architects, Highland Park Bank & Trust, J A Palminteri Insurance Agency, Jeff Cohen Photography, Jewel Nail Spa, Madame ZuZu’s, The Nail Shop and Spa, Paw Parlour, Piero’s Pizza, Principessa, Ravinia Barbershop, Ravinia Coffee Station, Style Hunters, Weiland Flowers and Zina Katsman Piano for Everyone.   Stores will have a green flyer posted in the window for ease in identification, and the business that collects the most instruments will receive 10 Lawn tickets to Ravinia Festival.

Furniture and Appliances:
If you have furniture or appliances to recycle, try using SWALCO’s  Where Do I Recycle This? online directory.

Bulk Items:
For additional options to recycle bulk scrap metal and other specific items, contact Lake County Scrap (located in Prairie View) and Clearview Recycling (located in Hainesville).

Upcoming Recycling Events:

22 April – Earth Day Spring Green-up Celebration
Eaton Park, 536 Eton Dr., North Barrington
Electronics Recycling and shoe recycling.

8 April, 9 :00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. Paper Tiger Shredding Event
Paper Tiger Facility, 1101 N. Estes Street, Gurnee
You bring your documents to the Paper Tiger facility and watch as your documents are securely shredded. Pay only $2.00 per standard banker’s box.

22 April, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. –Material Drop Off
West Commuter Parking Lot, Northbrook
The following items can be dropped off: paint, tires, styrofoam, printer cartridges, batteries, electronics, bicycles, and paper to shred.

22 April, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Senator Melinda Bush’s Earth Day Shredding Event
Lindenhurst Water Treatment Facility, 2060 Grass Lake Rd., Lindenhurst
Enjoy free paper shredding as well as latex paint recycling (for small fee).

22 April, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Earth Day Open House
Harley Davidson Store, 2929 Patriot Blvd., Glenview
Come celebrate Earth Day with your buds at Chicago Harley Davidson!  Bring in old batteries t0 recycle and be entered to win a $100 Gift Card!  They will also be raffling off a trip to Lake Geneva and have free food to celebrate.

22 April, 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. – Earth Day Spring Green-Up Celebration
Eton Park, 536 Eton Dr., North Barrington
Bring in those old or unused printers, laptops, cameras, scanners, computers, tablets, smartphones, telephones, answering machines, video games, TVs (one per household), VCRs, stereo equipment, monitors, and CD/DVR players. You can also bring in shoes to donate to charity.

20 May, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.-  Recycle-O-Rama
Hawthorn Mall, 122 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills
Bring your old computer equipment, monitors, laptops, CD/DVD’s, to Hawthorn Mall for recycling. Paper shredding and latex paint recycling will also be offered.

Lake County has a goal of reaching a 60 percent recycling rate in Lake County by the year 2020. Is your household doing its part to help reach that goal?

How are you teaching your children about recycling? Leave us your best tip in the comments section below.


About Kari Alford 25 Articles
Kari is a military wife who gets to travel the globe with her favorite people: her family! She has a husband who is funnier than she lets on, a daughter who is more creative than anyone she’s ever met, and a son who is always up for an adventure (especially if it involves a sword fight!) Kari hails from Michigan, but thanks to joining the Navy when she was 19, she has lived in California and Japan until returning to the Midwest in 2015. Kari loves to experience what cities have to offer but also loves to kayak with her family, or explore the wilderness. Every day is a different one since she’s on her children’s school’s PTO board, the AYLL board, and goes to college part time. Kari hates being bored, so you’ll often find her with her crochet bag, working on an afghan while she’s waiting for her children during practice.


  1. There is a SWALCO Clothing & Textiles donation bin and (usually if it isn’t overfull) a shoe recycling bin at the Gurnee Fire Station #2 on Dada Drive (off Hunt Club). It’s super convenient if you are running to shop in the area.

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