Recycling Collection

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Recycling is collected as part of the City of Bloomington's Solid Waste Program. The Public Works department collects recycling placed at the curb every other week on weekdays and weekday holidays, except for Christmas Day. To find out when your recycling will be picked up, visit the RecycleCoach page or download the RecycleCoach app available on the App Store and Google Play

Recycling collection is included in the monthly cart fee. All residential properties that participate in the Solid Waste Program should have a recycle cart. However, if you would like to order a new recycle cart or additional recycle carts (at no extra cost), please contact Public Works at 309-434-2225

Did we miss a pickup? Please click here to report it on MyBloomington. 

Recycle Restrictions
Below is a list of acceptable and unacceptable items for recycle disposal. For information on how to dispose of specific items, visit the RecycleCoach page, download the RecycleCoach app available on the App Store and Google Play, or contact Public Works at: 309-434-2225.

Acceptable Items

  • Mixed Paper (newspaper, advertising inserts, junk mail, paper egg cartons, telephone books, gift wrap, magazines, catalogs)
  • Cardboard & Paperboard (cereal boxes, frozen food boxes, tissue boxes)
  • Books (remove hardcovers) 
  • Glass Bottles & Jars (clear, brown, blue, or green)
  • Aluminum, Tin, & Steel Cans (disposable pans, empty aerosol cans) Aluminum Foil & Tins
  • Plastic Bottles & Containers (water and soda bottles, milk and juice jugs, detergent bottles, plastic tubs and jars. These include numbered plastics: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, & #7 (these numbers can be found on the bottom of bottles and containers.)

Unacceptable Items

  • #6 Plastics Including Styrofoam and plastic egg cartons. This number can be found on the bottom of bottles and containers.
  • Plastic Bags (grocery, bread, and dry cleaning bags)
  • Plastic toys
  • Ceramic Mugs, Cookware, or Dishes
  • Mirrors, Windows, or Drinking Glasses
  • Motor Oil Containers
  • Aerosol cans that held spray paint or hazardous materials
  • Vinyl Tubes (Toothpaste Tubes)
  • Soiled Paper Towels or Napkins
  • Building Materials, Scrap Metal
  • Garbage, Food Scraps, or Yard Waste
  • Hazardous Waste, Hypodermic Needles, or Medical Waste
  • Electronics or Light Bulbs


Large Cardboard Box Disposal: The City prefers that cardboard boxes be recycled. However, for non-recyclers, here is the rule for large boxes. Boxes must be broken down and cut into pieces no larger than 4 feet by 4 feet. Put the cardboard pieces in your garbage cart only if you are still able to close the lid. If you cannot close the lid, leave the box pieces in a neat pile next to your cart. Or, take them directly to Midwest Fiber in Normal or the Public Works drop-off facility behind the Bloomington Public Library on East Street.

Recycling Carts at the Curb
The City of Bloomington uses Single-Stream Recycling, which means all recyclable items can be placed in the same container for collection, without having to sort by type. Carts with recycling may be placed  out for collection at the curb, but NOT in the street, no earlier than 2:00 p.m. on the day prior to scheduled collection, and no later than 6:00 a.m. on the day of the collection. Emptied carts must be removed from the curb no later than 9:00 a.m. on the day following collection. Below are the rules for placing recycle carts at the curb. Please review them carefully to ensure that your recycle cart gets collected.

  1. The cart handle faces in toward the house.  The cart handle and the wheels of the cart should face in, away from the street. On the cart lid, note that there are arrows. When placing the cart for collection at the curb, arrows should point to the street. As a reminder, the graphic pictured to the right is stamped onto the lid of the car.
  2. Proper clearance.  Please place the cart at least 4 feet from any tree, pole, solid waste cart, mailbox, fire hydrant, or other object; and at least 10 feet away from any cars parked  in the street. If cars park along your street during the day, you may want to leave your cart on your driveway apron instead of the grassy areas along the curb. The automated truck needs the clearance space in order to grab the sides of the cart.
  3. The lid must be closed to prevent damage to the cart during pickup and to prevent spillage. An overloaded cart, with a lid fully or partially opened, will not get picked up.
  4. Do not lean anything against the container. This would prevent the automated trucks from lifting the cart.
  5. If cars park along your street during the day, you may want to leave your cart on your driveway apron instead of the grassy areas along the curb. While it will slightly inconvenience you, it will guarantee that Bloomington Public Works employees have access to your cart.
  6. Black lid means garbage, blue lid means recycling: The lids of the carts are color coded to prevent confusion by residents during placement of recyclables and garbage into carts and to signal to our Public Works employees which is which as they approach in their trucks. Carts with black lids are garbage carts. Carts with blue lids are for recycling only. Household garbage placed in a recycling cart will not be collected.
  7. Moving the Cart: Do not drag the cart when moving it. Instead, tilt and roll it with the lid closed.
  8. Storage: Store the cart in the back yard, garage or a location not visible from the street, but do not store the cart near a fireplace, furnace, grill or other heat source.
  9. Cleaning: Clean the cart periodically with water.
  10. Restrictions: Do not place hot ashes, solvents, paint or other flammable liquids in the cart. Do not use the cart to hold hazardous materials such as: dead animals, chemicals, oils, liquids and medical waste (exposed needles, used bandages, etc.) Do not place bulk waste, yard waste or household garbage in the recycling cart.
  11. Do not allow children or pets to play in or on the cart.

Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding recycling in the City of Bloomington. If you have any further questions, please contact Public Works at 309-434-2225.

Expand/Contract Questions and Answers

  • What do I do with my old recycle bins?

  • Who do I contact if I have questions about recycling?

  • Where can I take items that are recyclable but are not recyclable in the cart?

  • I recently moved and have lots of cardboard boxes and they will not all fit in my cart. What can I do with them?

  • Do I need to separate the items in my recycling bin?

  • What is considered a recyclable?

  • Can I have more than one recycling cart?

  • If my cart is stolen or broken who should I contact?

  • If I move, should I take the recycling cart with me?

  • Does the recycling cart belong to me?

  • Where do I place my container to be picked up on my recycling day?

  • Can I store my container on the outside of my garage?

  • I don’t have room for the cart in my garage. Can I use a different container to hold my recycling items?

  • How big is the cart? Do I get to choose the size I want?

  • How do I get a recycling cart?

  • Does every household in Bloomington qualify for the curbside recycling program?

Additional Information
For additional information about recycling in Bloomington, Normal, and McLean County, please visit the Ecology Action Center's Website.

Click on the video below to see how Single Stream Recycling works.