New website helps residents learn what is recyclable in Chicago and trash pick-up schedule

CHICAGO - AUGUST 17: Garbage trucks sit at a City of Chicago Department of Fleet Management lot August 17, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. In order to save money the city is having a reduced-service day in which most city employees are off without pay. City Hall, public libraries, health clinics and most other city offices are closed. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Have you ever taken heaps and mounds of recycling and trash outside to the alley only to discover that your trash bins were filled over the brim, leaving you no place to put your waste? Those days might soon be over.

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A new online tool aims to help residents figure out the when their garbage will be collected and advance on previous outreach and education initiatives the city has commenced to encourage recycling.

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“Our goal is to make recycling as easy as possible for everyone,” said Department of Streets and Sanitation Acting Commissioner John Tully in a press release.

“Residents can quickly find their pick-up day for recycling and garbage as well as user-friendly information about what they can and can’t recycle, all in one place. It’s one less barrier to greener communities and a Zero Waste Chicago.”

So how to use it?

Go to this website, enter your address, and voila. You can even link a calendar with Google, Apple, and Outlook or receive email alerts.

The site also has a handy guide about what is acceptable for recycling. For example, cardboard is recyclable, but not the stuff covered in grease stains from your delivery pizza. Styrofoam is not recyclable in your alley but can be dropped off at other centers or shipping offices.

You can’t recycle hardcover books or plastic toys, but there are plenty of places to donate to which the site links to.

Remember never to bag your items for recycling. Place objects in the blue bin on their own.

Beyond that, the site also goes into electronic and battery waste, as well as chemicals, paints, and oils, and provides helpful links for where those corrosive items can be properly disposed.

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Wondering what to do with your Christmas Tree? The city has a map of 25 drop-off locations to turn that tree into mulch. The program runs through January 20th. If you don’t have the time or means to do so, there is also a pickup option for a fee.

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