Trying to live more green? We try to help with our Champaign-Urbana Area Recycling Guide.
Thank you to the City of Champaign for sponsoring our Ins and Outs of Recycling in Champaign-Urbana. The next Residential Electronics Collection event will take place in May 2020, with the date to be announced (generally, this takes place in May and October). Pre-registration for the event is required to participate and happen online. As part of your registration, you will select one of the 15-minute time slots to bring your items. This helps keep wait times to a minimum. This collection event is the only (cost-free) local option to dispose of an older, tube-style television. Can’t make the fall recycling event? For more recycling options, including free YEAR-ROUND local electronic recycling options (with the exception of most TV’s), click here .
The Residential Electronics Collection event is for residents living in these participating communities in Champaign County: Bondville, Broadlands, Champaign, Fisher, Gifford, Homer, Ivesdale, Ludlow, Mahomet, Ogden, Pesotum, Rantoul, Royal, Sadorus, Savoy, Sidney, Thomasboro, Urbana, & Unincorporated Champaign County. If you live in one of the communities not participating (Allerton, Foosland, Longview, Philo, St. Joseph, & Tolono) then please do not register for this event, unless you have an ‘unincorporated Champaign County’ address.
By Rachael McMillan
There are many ways to go about the business of recycling in Champaign-Urbana. Here is our list, categorized by the type of item to be recycled. (For household items that can be resold or distributed to others in need, we have developed another list that includes clothing, books, appliances, furniture and more; if you want to make money on your old stuff, check out our consignment guide as well.)
Metal, plastic, cardboard, and paper
Curbside pick-up of these items is available in Champaign through whichever waste service you have; in Urbana recycling is handled through its U-Cycle Program. For Champaign residents, whichever service you use, check with your provider to see which items they will accept; some take more variety than others.
If you want a drop-off option, check out Illini Recycling in Champaign, located at 420 Paul Avenue. The company will take: cardboard, #1 -#7 plastic bottles, magazines, tin food cans, newspaper, aluminum cans, office paper, and aluminum foil/pans; NO GLASS.
If you have other scrap metals, you can take them to Mervis Recycling in Urbana (3008 N. Cunningham Ave.) or Mack’s Twin City Recycling in Urbana. Rates paid vary. Items that you can recycle/scrap that you wouldn’t think of? Keys, Christmas lights, old plumbing implements.
Urbana’s Landscape Recycling Center is the place to take the big bags of clippings, weeds and other assorted natural debris that result from the process of turning your yard into a pruned paradise. Bags can be purchased at most landscape and home improvement stores, as well as at Meijer and Walmart, among other places. The LRC charges fees for their services, but they’re well worth it to responsibly rid yourself of yard waste.
Free curbside landscape recycling happens in Champaign in the spring and fall; you can sign up for email notices of future pick-up dates. Urbana also has free leaf pick-ups in the spring and fall. Check its website for dates and zones.
Plastic grocery bags
As much as we all try to never be without our reusable grocery bags, there are times where are caught unprepared at the grocery store. Many local big-box stores offer recycling of plastic bags (and not just their own), including Schnucks, Meijer, Walmart, and most recently, Target. Some of the local trash collectors may accept them as part of their recycling program; be sure to ask.
Champaign-Urbana residents have 24/7 access to safely dispose of their unwanted or expired medications, including controlled substances, via the C-U Area Medicine Take-back Program (see complete article here). Residents can drop off their medications in the collection boxes in the lobbies at:
Did you forget about the recent countywide electronics recycling event? (See above!) If you didn’t register for the event, there are a few options:
The Champaign County Reduce, Reuse, Recycle page lists options for electronics (along with numerous other types of materials).
More electronics recycling information is available here, but the bottom line is this: No-cost options for electronics recycling are dwindling. Your best bet to recycle an old TV for free is the City of Champaign event listed at the top of this article. Generally, this takes place in May and October.
Did you digitize your old music and video collection? Do you have a lot of this stuff sitting around your house? You can recycle it all at Best Buy. They also take used gift cards, wires, cords, and more.
Compact Florescent Light bulbs
The Home Depot (located at 820 Bloomington Road, Champaign) offers a free program that allows customers to bring in any expired unbroken CFL bulbs, place them in a plastic bag and deposit them both into a collection unit.
The City of Urbana offers free single-use battery and rechargable batteries recycling at five locations, including the Anita Purves Nature Center; the Urbana Free Library; the Urbana City Building; the Philips Recreation Center; and the Urbana Public Works. Before you put batteries in the receptacle, put a piece of transparent tape over the positive (sticky-outie) end of each one. At the Urbana Free Library, look for a drop-off container to the right of the circulation desk.
Car Seat Recycling
In fall 2019 Target and Wal-Mart both held car seat recycling events; it is unknown when those will be repeated, although Target typically does another collection in honor of Earth Day. For more information on how to dispose of your car seats year-round, go here.
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Both the city of Champaign and the city of Urbana put out lists (although some of the information may be out of date) of places to take a host of other reusables/recyclables, from clothing to motor oil.
A former high school teacher who now is spending time at home with her two children, Jack and Kate, Rachael McMillan is a freelance writer and reading tutor. She is a regular contributor to chambanamoms.com.