September Conservation Newsletter: Recycling

Welcome back Wildlifers old and new! If you are new to the Champaign-Urbana area you may be wondering how best to deal with your recyclables. In this issue, you will find some basic information about local recycling programs and how you can participate. Fortunately, the Champaign and Urban townships have made this relatively easy for all.

Recycling Basics:

Urbana Residents

People living in single family to four-plex residences as well as have the option to use the U-Cycle program. This program was extended to include “multifamily” residences such as apartment buildings, dormitories, frats/sororities with 5 or more dwelling units. This program utilizes a “single-stream” collection method. All acceptable papers and containers can be mixed and collected together. To learn about what is acceptable see this fantastic handout. (

Champaign Residents

Champaign also has two programs, one for single-family residences (one to four units) and one for multifamily residences (five or more) called “Feed-the-Thing”, including fraternities, sororities, and shared housing. All licensed waste haulers in Champaign are required to collect recyclables at no additional cost. At a minimum they are required to collect the following materials:

  • Plastics labeled #1 through #7 (no Styrofoam)
  • Corrugated cardboard (ex: boxes, the non-contaminated part of a pizza box, etc.)
  • Boxboard (ex: cereal, soda, & beer packaging)
  • Beverage carrier stock (ex: bottled beer holders & drink carriers from fast food restaurants)
  • Magazines, catalogs
  • Newspaper & inserts, telephone directories, paperback books
  • Residential mixed paper (mail, computer paper, ledger paper, etc.)
  • Tin & bi-metal food & beverage cans, empty aerosol cans
  • Aluminum food & beverage cans, foil, & trays
  • Food & beverage mixed glass containers (clear, flint, brown, & green)

They are required to collect your recyclables whether or not you buy/rent their tote. The City provides FREE recycling stickers for carts or totes, as well as FREE 5-gallon INDOOR recycling buckets. The stickers and buckets are available in the front lobby of Public Works, 702 Edgebrook Drive, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m.


Residences with five or more dwelling are invited to use the Feed-the-Thing program. The Thing is a non-sort recycling bin where you can dump all of yur paper, plastic and metal recyclables. See what you can feed the Thing here ( The city of Champaign will provide free 95 gallon containers to participating buildings. Read about the birth of the THING here ( The Thing does not accept these items:

  • Building materials
  • Ceramic dishes
  • Cookware
  • Garbage bags
  • Light bulbs
  • Scrap metal
  • Styrofoam
  • Window glass
  • Food-soiled materials
  • Medical supplies
  • Hazardous materials
  • Batteries


Where do my recyclables go?

Recyclables are collected by ABC Sanitary and Recycling which is Urbana’s contractor. The items are taken to a facility in Champaign where they are sorted by hand into different material groups such as aluminum, steel, glass, plastic resin types, and paper. After sorting, materials are loaded into a baling chamber and then shipped off to potentially become material for new products. For example, according to the City of Urbana’s website, #1 PET is shipped to Summerville, GA to become carpet, and #2-7 plastics are shipped to Haviland, OH to become drainage tile.


Urbana info:


Champaign info:

Download the PDF Version Here: WMC_newsletter_Sept2018!