Chicago Recycles

The City's residential Blue Cart program provides bi-weekly recycling services to single-family homes and multi-unit buildings with four or fewer units.  Blue Carts are serviced by the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) along with the City’s recycling contractor. Check out the new story map to see the journey of your recyclables from the point of pick-up! You’ll see where the recyclables go to be sorted, the tonnage of recyclables collected, and the destinations for processing into new materials.



To see a full-screen version of the storymap click here.


One of the goals of Chicago’s Climate Action Plan is to increase resident awareness on recycling and sustainability through targeted and equitable education for Chicagoans. When residents commit to daily recycling, it brings the following BENEFITS to our city and our world.


Chicago Recycles


Thank you to all Chicago residents who participated in this year's Pumpkin Smash events on Saturday, November 4, 2023!

We are thrilled to report that 26.5 tons of pumpkins were diverted from landfills, nearly nine tons more than last year. And what a fun time we all had doing it!

Many thanks to all the community partners who hosted events with us this year, as well as our planning partner University of Illinois Extension: Cook County and SCARCE.

A Pumpkin Smash is a fun community effort to keep pumpkins out of landfills and turn them into compost. Composting pumpkins recycles their nutrients, and compost can be used to nourish soil. Keeping pumpkins out of landfills also prevents greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

We look forward to seeing you all again in 2024. 

More details 

Through the 2021 City of Chicago Waste Strategy, a comprehensive waste and materials management plan, DSS is working to decrease waste disposal and associated negative environmental impacts; reduce costs and increase efficiency; maximize economic investment and workforce development opportunities; and address social and environmental justice inequities. Check out our Chicago Waste Progress Update and stay tuned to this site for new programs and opportunities!

 Recycle by City logo



For more information on residential recycling, please also visit Recycle by City, the City’s recycling education partner.