The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 |

Main menu


Waste hauler to enforce stricter recycling rules

Oak Parkers are being challenged to step up their recycling game as new, stricter cart contamination rules go into effect in May.

Waste Management, which provides refuse and recycling services for all Oak Park residential properties of five or fewer units, will stop emptying recycling carts that contain common contaminants such as plastic bags, soiled food containers and non-recyclables like Styrofoam, garden hoses and propane tanks.

Beginning May 6, warning stickers will be applied to recycling carts that contain items that can’t be recycled. After a two-week warning period, haulers will not empty carts until the contaminants are removed by the resident — ideally by the next weekly collection cycle.

Contamination woes
Contaminants in recycling carts are making it increasingly difficult for haulers to offer the service as the market for the raw materials keeps getting smaller. While people may think they are doing the right thing by tossing anything paper, plastic or metal into the recycling cart rather than the trash, they actually may be creating big problems for commercial recyclers that could eventually be forced to reduce services or charge more.

Residents role
While Oak Park officials say they are committed to making sure recycling remains an affordable part of the community ethos, residents will have to do their part to help keep costs down.

This means making sure that all packaging and containers are not only recyclable, but also clean and dry before they go into the cart. Just one or two soiled or non-recyclable items can contaminate the entire contents of a cart.

Residences served by the Village’s waste hauler pay either $25 or $27.51 per month, depending on the size and number of refuse carts. The municipal hauling contract includes unlimited recycling services, with most properties having a single 64-gallon recycling cart.

The Village currently is in the second year of a five-year contract with Waste Management, with fees appearing on property owner’s quarterly water bills.

For more information on how to recycle right, including tips, fact sheets and links to how-to videos, visit