Environmental Health & Safety > Recycling Program > Beyond the Bin Guide

Beyond the Bin Guide

This guide contains options for recycling beyond the usual paper and plastic.

If you're unsure about an item's recyclability, don't toss it in and hope for the best. "When in doubt, throw it out" is a good rule of thumb. Incorrectly placed items can cause problems with equipment at recycling facilities, possibly endangering workers and/or contaminating other materials.

Appliances - Large & Small

Donate (working appliances only):
Salvation Army thrift stores​
*Goodwill does not typically accept appliance donations in the Chicagoland area although they do in some other regions.
ComEd offers free fridge & freezer recycling​ for their customers.
Many of the EPA Registered Electronics Collectors will accept appliances.
Best Buy​ accepts many large and small appliances.​​​​​​


All batteries are recyclable at DePaul. Click here for bin locations.​
The EPA has deemed alkaline batteries suitable for la​ndfill disposal, but you can still put them in the bins around campus.
When you're away from DePaul, check out the Call2Recycle directory​ to find drop off locations near you (most Home Depot, Lowe's, Staples stores and more).

Clothes & Other Textiles

Button & Zipper runs an annual coat drive with many participating locations around Chicago.
Madewell​ accepts all types of old jeans at their stores - they make them into housing insulation and you get $20 off a new pair!​
Can be donated to Demon Surplus With A Purpose (SWAP)​​ held at the end of each academic year. ​
Many thrift stores accept clothing and textiles EVEN IF they're unwearable (call and ask your location to be sure). These items are sold to textile recyclers to be made into industrial rags, carpet fibers, insulation and more. Check out Nearly New Thrift Store​ nearby!​
Consider donating professional women's clothing to Dress for Success.
Levi's​ now offers clothing and shoe recycling at all of its mainline and outlet locations in the US. Items must be clean and dry.
The North Face​ offers recycling for all clothing regardless of brand or condition.
USAgain​ bins - search for the nearest location on their site.
Consider donating prom dresses to The Glass Slipper Project.​
Reusable bags often get thrown out when they become tattered and worn. Send your bags to Chicobag​ instead (click on Zero Waste Program)​! They'll be given to low income families or recycled through partnerships with artists, crafters, and nonprofits.​

Electronics (E-Waste)

Household Chemicals and Computer Recycling facility
EPA Registered Electronics Collectors include municipal and private recycling options.
Municipal programs are usually for residents only, whereas private recycling options (Best Buy, Staples) are open to all.

Food Packaging & Snack Wrappers

Chips bags, candy wrappers, etc. are made o​f mixed materials and cannot be recycled in household bins. TerraCycle​ offers mail in recycling for these items.​

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)

HHW includes all types of household chemicals (cleaners, pesticides) and products containing hazardous materials (smoke alarms, batteries). These items should never be placed in household trash or recycling bins.

Household Chemicals and Computer Recycling facility

Some municipalities offer HHW collection exclusively for their residents – check first with your local government. If no such local option exists, the following facilities (as well as the Chicago one listed above) are available to all Illinois residents.

Music, Movies & More

Some of the EPA Registered Electronics Collectors will accept these items.
Best Buy​ accepts CDs, DVDs (and HD DVDs), Blu Ray discs, E-Readers, video game consoles, controllers, and games.​
​​The Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County​ provides a list of places you can recycle all kinds of media.

Personal Care Products

Cosmetics: Origins accepts empty containers of any brand/type for recycling in their stores. MAC, Lush, Kiehl's and Aveda take back their own empty containers. Bare Minerals, Stila and Jane Iredale offer refillable compacts which can reduce waste. TerraCycle has a Personal Care and Beauty Brigade mail in recycling program which accepts most items.

Nail P​olish: Considered HHW and can be brought to HHW facilities that accept it. Chemwise runs a mail in recycling program.

Toothbrushes & Razors: These are not recyclable unless purchased from Preserve and recycled through their Gimme 5 Program​.

Feminine Hygiene Products: Consider reusable menstrual cups and cloth pads instead of traditional, plastic-based, disposable products.​​​


You can donate gently used shoes of any size/type in the Share Your Soles bin located in the lobby of the Ray Meyer Fitness & Recreation Center.
Nike Reuse-A-Shoe​ accepts no longer wearable athletic shoes for recycling into artificial turf and other products.​


There are many great organizations you can donate a no longer needed car to:
UCP Seguin​, Vehicles for Veterans, Kars4Kids​ (also accepts boats, RVs and motorcycles)