Chicago Unveils New Educational Website Designed to Help Make Recycling Easy

December 10, 2015

City Continues Encouraging Residents to 'Lose the bag, keep the recycling' When Using Blue Carts

The Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) today unveiled a new website designed to show residents what can and cannot be recycled in a Chicago blue cart.  The Recycle by City Chicago website includes common misconceptions about recycling, fun quizzes and additional resources--all to help make residential recycling easy. 

"Residents often question what can be recycled in a blue cart and sometimes end up contaminating a whole stream of otherwise useful recyclable by including the wrong materials," said DSS Commissioner Charles L. Williams.  "The new website provides residents clear answers to their recycling questions in a highly visual, user friendly format.  Everything you want and need to know about Chicago blue cart recycling is right there at your fingertips." 

The new Recycle by City Chicago website is part of the ongoing GO BAGLESS public outreach campaign designed to urge residents to stop using plastic bags to recycle materials in their blue carts. 

Beginning January 1, 2016, all recyclables must be placed in the blue cart loose without a bag.  Recyclables contained in bags of any kind will no longer be accepted.  "This will not only help our environment, but also reduce unnecessary costs incurred by the City as a result of contaminated blue carts," added Williams. 

The blue cart recycling program provided by-weekly recycling collection services to residents who live in single family homes, two, three and four flat buildings.  The recycling program is a single stream system, collecting the following: 

  • Plastic containers (plastic bottles and containers with 1,2,3,4,5 or 7)
  • Glass (jars and bottles)
  • Metal (aluminum, tin, or steel cans, foil and pie tins)
  • Cartons (milk cartons, juice cartons and aseptic containers)
  • Paper (cardboard boxes - flattened, office paper, file folders, magazines, catalogs, newspapers, junk mail, telephone books, non-metallic wrapping paper, etc.) 

Recycle by City revolutionized recycling education with the launch of their interactive visual guide in June 2014.  Today, the Recycle by City program provides hyper-local recycling information to more than 2.5 million households nationwide. 

For more information on recycling in Chicago, visit


# # #

News Release Facts