Trying to live more green? We’re here to help with our Champaign-Urbana Area Recycling Guide.
Thank you to the City of Champaign for presenting our recycling guide. The next Residential Electronics Collection event will take place on Friday and Saturday, May 21-22, 2021, with online registration opening Monday, April 12. As part of your registration, you will select one of the 15-minute time slots to bring your items. This collection event is the only (cost-free) local option to dispose of an older, tube-style television. Can’t make the 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. Click here to see if your community is participating.
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 the city’s 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 (3008 N. Cunningham Ave., Urbana) 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 paper bags of clippings, weeds and other assorted natural debris that result from the process of turning your yard into a pruned paradise. Yard waste 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.
Most local municipalities offer landscape recycling as a service to their residents, however it is typically limited to a few times per year.
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. The village of Mahomet has a landscape waste program, as do St. Joseph, Rantoul and Monticello. One exception is Savoy.
Plastic grocery bags
As much as we have tried to never be without reusable grocery bags, the pandemic has put most use of reusable bags on hold. Many local big-box stores offer recycling of plastic bags (and not just their own), including Schnucks, Meijer and Walmart. 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 last countywide electronics recycling event? (See above!) If you can’t attend one of these county events, there are a few options:
This Champaign County Recycle/Reuse page lists options for electronics.
More electronics recycling information is available here, but the bottom line is this: No-cost local 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, these take 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 an extensive list of other items.
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: the Anita Purves Nature Center; the Urbana Free Library; the Urbana City Building; the Phillips Recreation Center; and Urbana Public Works. (NOTE: During the COVID-19 pandemic, some of these locations might be closed; call ahead.) The following types of batteries must have the end terminals taped before being placed in the receptacle: all rechargeable batteries; button cell batteries; and lithium batteries. Alkaline batteries do not need to be taped.
Car seat recycling
In fall 2020 Target held a car seat recycling event; we don’t know when they might repeat it, although Target typically does another collection in honor of Earth Day in April. Champaign County has no year-round option for car seat recycling.
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.