Operation of a recycling facility in Chicago requires a permit from the Department of Public Health. Permits for recycling facilities are categorized into five classes:
Class I Recycling Facilities – May collect, manually separate, and temporarily store Type A and Type B recyclable materials only. (Type A material includes scrap metal, glass, paper, rubber, textiles, and plastic. Type B material includes organic material such as landscape waste.)
Class II Recycling Facilities – May perform the same activities as Class I facilities, and may also perform processing.
Class III Recycling Facilities – May perform the same activities as Class I and Class II facilities, and may also engage in composting.
Class IV Recycling Facilities – May collect and temporarily store Type A and Type C recyclable materials only. (Type A material includes scrap metal, glass, paper, rubber, textiles, and plastic. Type C material includes motor vehicles and vehicle parts.)
- Class IVA Facilities – May engage in processing, such as cleaning, bundling, compacting or packing of recyclable materials, and may engage in manual dismantling, including the use of small power tools.
- Class IVB Facilities – May perform the same activities as Class IVA facilities, and may also engage in the shredding, crushing or other large-scale processing of vehicles.
Class V Recycling Facilities – May collect, manually sort, and temporarily store Type D recyclable material only. (Type D material includes non-hazardous construction and demolition debris.)
For more information, please see the Recycling Facility Ordinance, in Chapter 11-4, Article XX of the Chicago Municipal Code, and the Rules and Regulations for Recycling Facilities.
To apply for a permit for a recycling facility:
- Make sure the property where recycling operations will occur is properly zoned and meets all zoning use requirements.
- Fill out a recycling facility permit application. For Class V facilities, provide additional information required in Section 13 of the Rules and Regulations for Recycling Facilities. Note that you must follow the instructions below to properly open and view the recycling facility application form.
- Right-click on the above link and then left-click on "Save target as...."
- In the Save As dialog box that appears, save the file to your computer. Note the directory where you saved the file.
- Run Adobe Acrobat Reader and open the file from the directory noted in (b) above. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it here.
- Complete the form by following the instructions contained therein.
- Please call (312) 745-3136 if you are having difficulties with the instructions above or have any technical issues with the form.
- Determine the fee amount. Note that you do not have to pay the fee until after the permit is issued.
- Take the completed form to the Zoning Administrator (City Hall, 121 N LaSalle Street Room 905) to obtain a zoning stamp.
- Mail the application to the address below. Note that applications lacking a zoning stamp will be denied.
Recycling Facility Permit Application
Chicago Department of Public Health
Environmental Permitting & Inspections
333 South State Street, Room 200
Chicago IL 60604
- Make the property available for inspection by the Department of Public Health and Bureau of Fire Prevention.
- A permit and an invoice for the permit fee will be issued and emailed to you when your application is approved.
Call the Department of Public Health at 312.745.3136 if you have any questions about requirements for recycling facility permits.
Supporting Information and Resources