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The Facts on Recycling

The many types of materials that can be recycled include plastic, paper, glass, aluminum, steel, motor oil, batteries, tires, toxic items like glues and paints, refrigerators and computer printers...to name a few.

There are many different kinds of plastic and they cannot be mixed. Plastics have a number code from 1-7, most curbside recycling bin will be #1, #2 and #5. #1 and #2 are the clear drink type plastic containers and #5 are the yogurt and cottage cheese container.   At NIU, we recycle all plastics, numbers 1-7.  Any plastic with an RID number is recyclable through Waste Management with the exception of polystyrene (Styrafoam).  Polystyrene, plastic bags, and most plastic packaging are not recyclable.  Hard plastic caps are also not recyclable. 

Make sure your paper recyclables are dry, wrapped in twine or in a paper bag, no plastic or other materials, especially in your newspaper, and drop it in your recycle bin. Recycle bin paper includes, newspapers, printer paper, junk mail, magezines, notebooks, cardboard and phone books. There are some papers that will not be accepted, such as food contaminated paper, wax paper, wax milk cartons, and cardon paper to name a few.  Tissues and used paper towels are not recyclable. At NIU, there are some recycling bins specifically for paper, but paper and cardboard can also be mixed in our single stream recycling system.

All colored glass is recyclable: brown, green, clear, etc.  Pyrex glass, window glass, and ceramics are not recyclable in our program.  Broken glass should NOT be placed in the recycling bin for safety reasons.  Most glass that is recycled at curbside in your recycle bin is bottle glass. Other types may require a local recycle hauler to come to your home and pick it up.

The vast majority of aluminum for your recycle bin will be aluminum beverage containers. Make sure they are empty and clean. For other types of aluminum, check for the recycle symbol and if it is small enough to fit in your recycle bin, you should be covered.

For the other recyclables like motor oil, batteries, tires and toxics, the curbside recycling bin is not the place. And while it is critical to recycle these products properly, it is best to find a reputable hauler that you can trust to make sure they are recycled.  See our Community Resources page for further information on ways to recycle various materials.