COVID-19: What's Happening With Yard Waste Collection, Brush Pickup?

COVID-19: What’s Happening With Yard Waste Collection, Brush Pickup?

Jennifer Jarland is working from home!

  • Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series of recycling and waste-collection tips from Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland. Got a question or idea for a recycling tip? Contact Jarland at 630-208-3841 or

Way back on March 20, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, issued an executive order for residents of Illinois to stay at home. The order allows essential infrastructure and associated employees to continue to travel for work related functions — and the good news for all of us is that waste and recycling services are specified as essential.

A lot of people have questions about their services during this time of COVID-19, and especially now that the weather is starting to get nicer and more folks are out in the back yard.

When you have a question, the best thing to do, always, is to check with your community’s public works department or the waste-hauling company that serves your community or township.

Bulk items

At present all curbside waste and recycling programs are operating pretty much as usual. The main service change being seen so far is that many haulers have stopped collecting bulk items and items left outside of the cart.

Check with your city or waste hauler directly if you have questions about your service.

Yard Waste Collection

As we enter into spring, the seasonal (usually April through November) yard waste collection has resumed.

There are, however, some towns in the greater Chicago area have chosen to delay the start of yard waste collection, because of the contact that drivers might have with the bags.

If you have a yard waste cart, then you should definitely receive service as normal.

Curbside brush pickup in Mill Creek starts the week of April 20.

Ideally, your town has worked with their contracted hauler to fulfil the terms of the contract as they are currently able, and your service has begun as of April 1.

Composting and mulching facilities depend on this organic material coming in at this time of year, and are open and ready to process it. Please contact your city or waste hauler if you have questions.

Please Do Not Burn!

If you live in a rural area, you may be tempted to burn your landscape waste. Even if it is allowed in your area, please reconsider. Smoke creates particulates in the air and we do not want to degrade air quality at a time when people are experiencing severe respiratory illness.

Here are some ideas on how to better manage your organic waste:

  • Yard waste and food scraps: The following suggestions are general best practices, regardless of whether curbside service is running as normal or experiencing disruptions due to the virus.
  • Back yard composting: Now is the time to start composting your yard waste and food scraps in a corner of the backyard if you have the space. There are many great guides available online about how to get started. Check out the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition (IFSC) resources on backyard composting.
  • Green-scaping & lawn mulching: Mulch leaves into the garden beds and leave grass clippings on the lawn. Google either of these terms to find a wealth of guidance online.
  • Drop-off options: Check with your county recycling program manager to find an IEPA permitted drop-off location that can take your organics (food scraps/landscape waste) for composting. See the IFSC map of compost facilities. Call ahead to confirm that they are open to the public for landscape waste drop-off.
  • Do not burn your landscape waste or any other waste please, despite any ill-informed advice to do so. See the EPA information on the hazards of burning waste. We do not want to fill the air with smoke at a time when people are struggling with respiratory-related illnesses. Instead, please mulch these organic materials properly, so that they will break down through a natural emission-free process.

Please Recycle Right!

Remember to closely follow the guidelines for curbside recycling, and only recycle the materials listed in the YES portion of this Recycling Guidelines Poster.

COVID-19 Recycling Information

Please see here for more updated information regarding Program Status in relation to COVID-19.

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