Beyond Curbside Recycling in Macon County
Most curbside recycling programs allow residents the opportunity to recycle aluminum, tin cans, plastic, newspapers, and sometimes glass. But, going beyond the curbside bin is very different in communities across the country. Listed below are the options available for residents in Macon County for recycling items not accepted in the curbside recycling program.
How to Recycle Magazines, Cardboard and Phonebooks
If you live in the city of Decatur, in a house or in an apartment building with 6 or less units you have access to city curbside recycling service. Magazines and phonebooks are accepted in this program and residents are encouraged to put these items in their bin for recycling. If you live outside of the city of Decatur, Midwest Fiber, located at 1902 N. Water Street in Decatur will accept all of these items. Look for the containers as you enter the gate. You may want to call ahead for their hours of operation, (217) 424-9460.
Read more about recycling magazines, cardboard, and phonebooks.
How to Responsibly Recycle Computers, Electronics and TVs
The state of Illinois passed the Illinois Electronics Products Recycling and Reuse Act banning 17 electronic products from Illinois landfills. The 17 items no longer accepted in residential waste streams include:
Computers, computer monitors, televisions, printers, electronic keyboards, fax machines, videocassette recorders, portable digital music players, digital video disc players, video games consoles, electronic mice, scanners, digital converter boxes, cable receivers, satellite receivers, digital video disc recorders, and small-scale servers.
All 17 items must be responsibly recycled. Recycling locations in Macon County include:
Learn where to recycle computers, electronics, and TVs.
How to Recycle Eyeglasses
Lions Clubs offer a great program for reuse and recycling of old eyeglasses. Midwest Fiber and Bard Optical have drop boxes, just to name a few, but it would be a good idea to call and they can tell you their drop box locations. You can also ask your eye care professional for reuse and recycling opportunities.
Read more about how to recycle eyeglasses.
How to Recycle Rechargeable Batteries
Drop-off boxes for rechargeable batteries are located at Macon County Environmental Management as well as a number of businesses including Kenny’s Ace Hardware Store, Lowes, Maroa Lumber Company, Radio Shack and Staples. Other businesses with drop-off boxes may be located by checking the website ‘Call2Recycle’.
Read more about how to recycle rechargeable batteries.
Fluorescent Light Bulbs – Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Bulbs only
Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs used in residential applications may be recycled at the locations below. Please reuse packaging for storage and transportation of old bulbs. Should a fluorescent bulb break, please refer to the mercury section for proper clean-up methods.
Please note: Bulbs from business and industry applications are excluded from the residential collection program due to environmental regulations.
Kenny's Ace Hardware
Lowe's Home Improvement - 876-9750
Maroa Lumber Company - 794-2226
Read more about how to Recycle Fluorescent Light Bulbs.
How to Recycle Unwanted/Unused Medications
This issue is currently developing due to recent research indicating discarded medications being detected in waterways. Many of these discarded medications are producing harmful effects in various marine life species and are not being treated in our water treatment plants. Due to this development, people are asked to refrain from disposing of medications in the drain. Do not flush or rinse down drains. Instead, remove labels and dispose of unwanted medications in the regular trash.
Read more about how to recycle unwanted/unused medications.
How to Recycle Empty Ink Jet Cartridges
There are several programs for recycling your old inkjet cartridges. Currently a good option is to take the used cartridges to Staples and receive a coupon off the purchase of a new cartridge. There are also several companies listed on the internet offering refunds for specific types of cartridges and toners. Some of these programs make great fundraising programs for schools. Switching to a refillable cartridge reduces the waste and is a considerable cost savings to the consumer.
Read more about how to recycle empty ink jet cartridges.
How to Recycle/Reuse Unwanted Clothing & Household Items
The best alternative for unwanted clothing and household items is reusing rather than recycling. Having a garage sale or donating the clothes to various thrift shops offers a great opportunity for others to use the clothing you no longer need. Macon County has a good number of quality thrift shops which provide a great service to our community. Donating unwanted items directly to the various thrift shops will ensure they will remain in our county for others to use.
Read more about how to recycle/reuse unwanted clothing & household items.
How to Recycle Old Cell Phones
There are several options for recycling and reusing old cell phones. Barbeck Communications accepts cell phones for DOVE/RSVP and recycles them or wipes the information clean and reuses them for local shelters by equipping them with only a 911 number for use by people in danger. The Maroa Lumber Company is also collecting old cell phones for the Lions Club. An additional option is to search ‘cell phones for soldiers’ in your browser on the internet and click on ‘print a pre-paid label’ .This allows the opportunity to send your cell phone to ReCellular who will initiate a prepaid phone card to be sent to soldiers serving overseas. Also, the Call2Recycle drop boxes around town can be used for recycling old cell phones. Most locations to purchase cell phones have the option to recycle your old ones. Remember to take your old phone with you and inquire while you are there.
Read more about how to recycle old cell phones.
How to Dispose of Old Paints, Stains, and Varnishes
To avoid leftover paint, calculate the amount of paint needed for a project and buy only the amount needed. If paint becomes leftover, consider applying an additional coat to the walls, using the paint as a basecoat or primer, or donating the paint to a local theater group or church of your choice.
Latex paint in its liquid state cannot be accepted at our local landfill. However, if you have a small amount of latex paint left over, removing the lid and allowing the paint to totally solidify and disposing of it in your regular trash, with the lid remaining off, is acceptable. The process of solidifying your unwanted latex paint may be accelerated by adding kitty litter to the paint, and depositing it in your regular trash with the lid remaining off. This method is not to be used for oil-based paints, stains and varnishes. Keep open cans of paint away from children, animals and flames.
The Macon County Environmental Management Department operates the Partners for Paint Program that is partially sponsored by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
Learn more about paint disposal through Partners for Paint.
How to Recycle Used Motor Oil
If you take your car or truck to have the oil changed, the oil is already being recycled by law. However if you change the oil at home it is important to recycle the used motor oil. Due to the many hazardous toxins in motor oil, collecting the oil in an old plastic container such as a milk jug and taking it to one of the many oil change businesses in your area for recycling is important. Call your closest auto service business; inquire about the availability of accepting used oil for recycling. Macon Environmental Management Department also maintains a list of service centers accepting used motor oil for recycling, for assistance call(217) 425-4505.
Read more about how to recycle used motor oil.
How to Recycle Used Car Tires
Your local tire-change center is required by law to recycle used tires when you have new tires put on. You will be charged a small recycling fee (usually not over $3.00) for that service. Many tire dealers in our area will accept your waste tires for recycling for a nominal fee. Please call ahead to determine their operating hours and willingness to accept your waste tires. Landfills will not accept used tires on their premises. If you have old tires at home that need proper disposal, please contact your nearest tire change center, determine the charge, and drop it off with them for recycling.
Read more about how to recycle used car tires.
How to Recycle Household Thermostats
Thermostats are used in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) devices and in temperature controls for heat pumps. On January 1, 2007, the State of Illinois banned the sale of new mercury-added thermostats (Public Act 093-0964).
Why is it important to collect and recycle mercury-added thermostats? In the past, thermostats contained the hazardous metal mercury. Mercury that is released into the atmosphere can be transported long distances and deposited in aquatic ecosystems, where it can be converted into methylmercury, an especially toxic form. Methylmercury can accumulate in fish and humans.
Read more about how to recycle household thermostats.
How to Recycle Smoke Detectors
Both photoelectric and ionization smoke alarms contain plastic and electronic circuit boards and in some cases batteries (alkaline or lithium). Ionization technology also includes a chamber containing radioactive material incorporated into a gold matrix. Because of the long half-life of americium-241 the amount of radioactive material in the smoke alarm at the end of its certified useful life will be about the same as when you bought it (source USEPA). Smoke detectors contain a small amount of radioactive materials. The best disposal option for smoke detectors is to return it to the manufacturer, if possible. First Alert/BRK Brands, 3920 Enterprise Court, Aurora, IL 60504-8132, mark package "For Disposal Only" and Code One / Firex / Kidde / Maple Chase Products, 800-880-6788.
Read more about how to recycle smoke detectors.
How to Recycle Fire Extinguishers
From under the kitchen sink to a spare in the garage, most houses have a fire extinguisher on hand. The contents of these devices differ, depending on for what they are needed.
CC Fire Equipment Co. Inc. at 4377 Faries Parkway (217) 423-5395 or All Seasons Company at 167 Excelsior School Road (217) 519-0367 can recycle your old extinguishers. Please call ahead for drop off instructions.
Read more about how to recycle fire extinguishers.