Residential Curbside Recycling
The majority of Calumet County residents use one large blue curbside container for most of their household recycling needs. This process of single-stream recycling makes recycling just as easy as using a trash can. For information on acceptable and unacceptable materials that can be placed in the single-stream recycling containers, view the Household Curbside Recycling Guide (JPG). Please visit our Contact Us page to contact your local municipality about your curbside recycling pickup services.
Single-stream recycling involves placing all of your recyclables loose in your recycling bin, and not putting them in plastic bags. Even though plastic bags are recyclable, they get stuck in sorting equipment and cause unnecessary delays. To properly dispose of plastic bags, bring your clean and empty bags to your local grocery store for disposal. Most grocery stores have bins near the entrance for the disposal of plastic bags. For additional recycling tips, please check out some of the more common recycling "mistakes" below.
Aerosol Cans (Not Empty)
Even though most - if not all - of the contents of aerosol cans are recyclable, the chemicals used to pressurize the cans (and sometimes the contents of the can) are classified as a household hazardous waste. Advanced Disposal currently does not accept aerosol cans with material still inside of the can in their garbage or recycling streams. If Advanced Disposal is not your hauler, please contact your local municipality to determine if you are able to recycle or throw away aerosol cans in your bins.
If you have aerosol cans that are not empty, one option for Calumet County residents is to bring them to one of the county's household hazardous waste disposal events. Registration is required prior to the events by calling 920-849-1442.
If you have empty aerosol cans, another option is to bring them to Sadoff Iron and Metal Company for safe disposal. When empty, please remove plastic nozzles and caps for recycling.
Aluminum Cans & Bottles
Do not crush cans or bottles for single-stream recycling. While this may save space in your bin for additional items, sorting equipment will not be able to effectively sort crushed cans from paper products. For multiple-stream recycling, it is acceptable to crush cans and bottles, as long as these items are properly sorted. Please check with your local municipality if you are unsure of what type of recycling stream your community utilizes.
Please leave caps on bottles for recycling. Previously, residents were instructed to remove bottle caps from bottles prior to recycling, but advances in recycling technologies have made it possible to easily separate these materials. When recycled, bottles and caps are ground into plastic flakes that are sorted by floating the materials. An example of this separation can be seen in the video provided.
Hypodermic Needles (Sharp)
Hypodermic needles, or sharps, should never be put in your recycling or garbage. Previously, people were instructed to put their sharps in their recycling bin in rigid, puncture resistant containers. This practice is no longer allowed as it has proven dangerous for sanitation workers, and poses a serious risk to the environment.
For proper disposal techniques and drop off locations in and near Calumet County, please go to our sharps disposal page for more information.
Items coated in oil, grease, or similar contents, are prohibited from entering the recycling stream. Segments of items coated in grease can be ripped off and placed in your regular garbage, while the portion of the material not coated in grease can be included in your recycling. Paper and cardboard products - such as pizza boxes - are the primary concern when it comes to grease and oil contamination.
Why Pizza Boxes Can't Be Recycled
Unlike glass or metal products that are capable of either rinsing-off or burning-off grease in the recycling process, the removal of grease contaminants is difficult for paper products. When paper products are recycled, they are combined into a slurry of water and ground-up paper fibers to form pulp. The pulp is eventually pressed and dried into what will become recycled paper products. When grease is introduced into this process, it mixes with the paper fibers during the pulping process, and can result in the entire batch being ruined.
Single-Use Paper Cups
Single-use paper cups are another issue of concern when it comes to recycling. At this time, there are very few - if any - recycling facilities in the United States that are effectively capable of recycle single-use paper cups. What makes this product convenient as to-go beverage cups, also makes it difficult to recycle. Most single use paper cups are lined with a thin coating of plastic that is difficult to separate during the recycling process. This deters most recycling facilities from recycling these cups.
Cup Accessories Can Be Recycled
Even though most single-use paper cups are not recyclable, cup accessories - such as plastic lids and insulated sleeves - are able to be recycled in most cases. Insulated sleeves are able to be recycled as corrugated cardboard, and plastic lids are able to be recycled if you recycling hauler accepts plastics Number 1 through 7 in non-bottle form (accepted by Advanced Disposal). If your recycling hauler is not Advanced Disposal, please check with your local municipality or hauler to see if this item is acceptable.
Single-use cups that are lined with polylactic acid (PLA) are able to be disposed of in commercial composting sites (backyard compost sites do not reach high enough temperatures to effectively break down).