Recycling Tips: Home Sale Clean-Out … in a Hurry!

Recycling Tips: Home Sale Clean-Out … in a Hurry!

  • Editor’s Note: This recycling-tips article was written by Kane County Recycling Coordinator Clair Ryan. Got a question or idea for a recycling tip? Contact Clair at 630-208-3841 or

It seems like everyone is moving house these days! For your humble county recycling coordinator, it means I get a lot of calls that start along the lines of “Hi, I’m closing on my house on Friday! How do I recycle my old stuff in a hurry before we move out?”

“Old stuff” can be a lot of things, but I’ll go through the most common items people ask about: old paint, household hazardous wastes, old electronics, and old media.


The paint you’re most likely to have stored in your home is latex paint, which is not hazardous waste. The fastest way to get rid of it is also the least environmentally friendly, and that is to dry it out (using kitty litter or sawdust if you need to dry it fast) and then throw it in the trash.

If you happen to have empty latex paint cans, those can be recycled curbside, but leave the lid off the cans so sorters can see that they’re empty.

Have a project you bought supplies for but never started? Habitat for Humanity ReStore locations may take unopened latex paint.

Have old spray paint? We take that (and any other aerosol items) at our Batavia recycling center Monday through Friday and in Aurora at the Lake Street Ace Hardware on Saturdays for a cost of $1 per can.

Household Hazardous Wastes

These are your auto fluids, oil-based paints, wood stains, pesticides and any other industrial chemicals you might have stored up.

The fastest way to get rid of these items is to drive them to the Naperville Household Hazardous Waste facility at 156 Fort Hill Drive, but keep in mind that this facility is only open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

All Illinois residents may use this facility at no cost. We have an excellent hazardous material home collection program that serves the northern townships and most of the Tri-Cities area, but this program typically books weeks in advance, so is probably not going to work if you’re in a rush.

Old Electronics

We take almost all household electronics in Batavia and West Dundee on weekdays and in Aurora on Saturdays.

Fees are $25 to recycle small TVs and monitors (less than 21 inches screen size, measured diagonally) and $35 to recycle larger TVs and monitors (21 inches and over screen size, measured diagonally). Cash and cards are accepted.

All other items are free to drop off.

Items that contain refrigerants – i.e., fridges and freezers, dehumidifiers, air conditioning units – are a challenge to dispose.

Due to the environmental hazards posed by the refrigerants, we don’t take these at our centers, and scrappers won’t take them, either.

If you have a handyman on speed-dial and they can remove the compressor and evaporator coils from these items, they can be taken to any crusher or scrap metal recycler. Otherwise, it’s probably easiest to take these items with you and schedule proper disposal through your waste hauler at your new house if you’re under time pressure.

Old Media

Ah yes, that set of encyclopedias from 1985 and the trove of VHS tapes that no one has a player for anymore.

Kane County takes books in any reasonable condition (not wet or moldy) at all of our recycling centers. We can take bulk quantities of old newspapers and magazines, too.

SCARCE in Addison will take vinyl records and commercially recorded CDs and DVDs in their cases.

Floppy disks, old software CDs, home recorded items, and all types of cassette tapes are the hardest to dispose of. However, I recently discovered a relatively affordable self-pack mail-in option.

For about $15 plus the cost of shipping, GreenDisk will take up to 25 pounds of these items for recycling, and it’s pretty quick and easy; just pay the fee online, pack up in your own box, and ship through your handler of choice.

If this isn’t manageable for you, unfortunately, the only other quick option is to trash these items. Please don’t put them in your curbside recycling!

Read More Recycling Tips!