Residential Solid Waste and Recycling Services

The department of Community & Economic Development manages the City’s refuse collection through a contract with Rock River Disposal for residents. Our mission is to provide for the collection and disposal of solid waste and recyclables in a manner that is consistent with federal and state regulations as well as to encourage reuse efforts of the community. City-contracted garbage collection is mandatory for all residential dwelling units, four-family and under. Chapter 25 of the City of Rockford General Ordinance sets forth the rules for garbage collection. To set up new service, questions about your existing water service, or billing questions, contact the Customer Service Center at 779-348-7300. Below you will find the most frequent requested information related to garbage service, recycling, yard waste, and residential hazardous materials disposal. For collection issues related to garbage, recycling, or yard waste, please start by contacting Rock River Disposal direct at 815-965-2489 or click the Need Help tab in Waste Wizard tool featured below. The Waste Wizard tool can also assist residents in determining their collection day by simply clicking the My Schedule tab and entering the service address. Residents can also use this tool to determine if an item can be recycled or not by clicking the Waste Wizard tab. Please note that the Bill Pay feature is not available at this time for our region. Rock River Disposal has also developed the WasteConnect App, a mobile application offering service and recycling information to residents. Simply download the app to stay connected with service schedules, reminders, alerts and recycling information. Please note that the “Pay Your Bill” feature is not available at this time for our region.

Weekly Garbage Collection

All Rockford residential properties have unlimited collection once a week, Monday through Thursday (except holidays). Residents may place any amount of garbage out for pickup but it must be containerized in garbage with a capacity of no more than 32-gallons with tight fitting lids or secured bags weighing no more than 50 pounds. Large items that will not fit in garbage cans or bags may also be placed for pick-up. Each residential dwelling unit is allowed one truck hopper (~3 cubic yards) per week.  Volumes exceeding one truck hopper are subject to bulk refuse rate surcharges listed in the City’s Fee Schedule that can be found here. Residents do not need to call ahead to put out large quantities of garbage but please be aware that they may be subject to the bulk waste charges. Please read below for additional information regarding bulk item collection. Building and remodeling materials, automobile parts, oil, tires, and liquid wastes will not be accepted. Some of these items may be accepted at the City’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility discussed below.

City of Rockford ordinance requires all garbage, garbage cans or bags to be stored at an inconspicuous location, generally out of sight from the street, until 3 p.m. the night before your regularly scheduled pick-up. Empty garbage cans must be returned to an inconspicuous location by 8 a.m. the day following your garbage pick-up.

Normal garbage collection days for all Rockford residents are Monday through Thursday. If you are a new resident and need to know your garbage collection day, simply enter your address in the Garbage Boundary Map web page or in the Waste Wizard tool featured above. If a collection day falls upon the holidays listed below, collection will be delayed by one day for the scheduled pick-up day and the balance of the week.

  •  New Year’s Day
  •  Memorial Day
  •  Independence Day
  •  Labor Day
  •  Thanksgiving Day
  •  Christmas Day

If you are having an issue with your garbage service or have a missed pick-up, please contact Rock River Disposal direct at 815-965-2489 or by using the Waste Wizard tool featured above.  If your issue needs further assistance from the City, please contact the City of Rockford’s Customer Service Division at 779-348-7300 or e-mail us at [email protected].

Weekly Bulk Item Collection

Bulk items are household items that are too large to be placed in a garbage can or bag. Items containing Freon, such as refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners, will  be accepted only if they are certified Freon-free by a licensed refrigeration technician. Bulk items are collected the same day as your regularly scheduled garbage pick-up.  Bulk items are also subject to the bulk refuse rates listed in the City’s Fee Schedule that can be found here.  The size of some bulk items may need to be reduced before collection for safety purposes.  If you feel you have an atypically large bulk item, please contact Rock River Disposal at 815-965-2489 to verify pick-up eligibility. Citizens may also elect to transport bulk items themselves to the Winnebago Landfill.  The landfill is located at 8403 Lindenwood Road, Rockford, IL 61109.  Please contact the landfill direct at 815-874-4806 to confirm disposal rates and hours of operation.

Weekly Recycling Collection

The City encourages all residents to take advantage of the recycling program. Each household is furnished with a blue 32-gallon recycling bin. If you do not have one, residents may purchase a new one through Rock River Disposal by calling 815-965-2489. The cost is $30.00 and includes delivery. Residents may also purchase a bin from a retailer as long as it is blue and clearly labeled for recycling. Recyclables will be collected on your regular garbage day. Please see the Recycling Guidelines sheet posted below to verify items can be recycled. Residents may also verify if an item can be recycled by using the Waste Wizard tool featured above or by downloading the WasteConnect mobile App.

Rockford Recycling Guidelines

Some items not eligible for the City’s recycling program, such as clothing, shredded paper, certain appliances, and many others can be brought to Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful’s Rockford Recycling Center located at 4665 Hydraulic Road in Rockford.  Please visit their website for operational hours and their Green Guide for a comprehensive list of accepted items.  Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful also accepts electronics and monitors as discussed in the Electronic Waste Disposal section below.

Below are additional practices that residents can adopt to improve recycling in Rockford:

  • Recycling containers containing general garbage, yard waste, or other prohibited items will not be collected.
  • Place recyclables in containers loosely and not in plastic bags or can liners.  Materials in bags and liners will not be collected by our garbage contractor.
  • Food contaminated paper, containers, and cardboard, such as pizza boxes, will not be accepted.
  • Please be sure all eligible metal, plastic, and glass containers and cartons are completely empty and free of food and debris.  Please rinse and remove all residual food as best as possible and drain containers of all liquids, including rinse water.
  • Please remove all styrofoam, plastic bags, and packaging materials from cardboard boxes.  Styrofoam is not eligible.  Plastic air-bags may be recycled along with plastic shopping bags and other soft plastic wraps at several local retailers, including Meijer, Walmart, Lowes, Target, and Schnucks.
  • Excess recyclables may be placed in a paper bags or cardboard boxes and set next to the dedicated bin. Large cardboard and paperboard must be flattened and bundled with string or twine (not wire). Bundles should be no larger than 2 feet by 2 feet. Residents may dispose of small electronics that are less than 2 feet by 2 feet in size in their City-issued blue recycling bins, with exception to televisions and computer monitors.  

Weekly Yard Waste Collection

Yard waste pick-up occurs only during the spring, summer and fall growing seasons along with a special pick-up for Christmas trees in January.  A press release is sent out in the spring, fall, and shortly after the winter holidays advising when these pick-ups will resume and end. Residents missing the final collection date for yard waste will have one additional chance for it to be collected during the annual Christmas tree pick-up. Each January, Rock River Disposal will collect Christmas trees from residents on their normally scheduled garbage pick-up day.  These pick-ups typically occur in the second or third full week. A press release is sent out prior to the collection advising when the collection will occur. Non-bagged trees should be cut into 4 foot sections and placed alongside resident’s regular garbage. Trees must be free of all ornaments, stands, lights, and other decorative materials.  Residents may also dispose of any remaining yard waste if properly containerized.  It is requested that yard waste only be placed in 2-ply biodegradable paper bags and not in garbage cans for this pick-up, as yard waste may freeze in cans preventing complete collection.  Christmas trees may also be dropped off for recycling at one of Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful’s recycling sites in Winnebago County. Please visit Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful’s website for a comprehensive list of dates the drop off sites. 

2023 yard waste collection dates are as follows:

  • Christmas Tree Collection: January 9 – 19, 2023  
  • Yard Waste Start: March 2023 (final date to be determined)
  • Yard Waste End: December 2023 (final date to be determined)

Residential yard waste pick-up occurs the same day as your regularly scheduled garbage pick-up. Yard waste material must be placed in compostable paper bags or in 32 gallon or smaller refuse cans that have been marked with a large “X” that is plainly visible from the street. Twigs, branches and other types of large brush that cannot fit into either of these containers must be placed in bundles no more than 4 feet long by 2 feet in diameter. Branches and limbs exceeding 4 inches in diameter will not be accepted. Bundles should be tied with string or twine, not metal. Additional restrictions to yard waste collection include mulch, tree stumps, roots balls or other vegetation mixed with excessive amounts of soil. No bag, can or bundle can weigh more than 50 pounds when loaded. Yard waste cannot be mixed with regular garbage nor placed in plastic bags for pickup. A printable Yard Waste Guidelines brochure can be accessed by clicking the link below. Residents and businesses may also elect to transport yard waste direct to Rock River Valley Compost, located at 6200 Baxter Rd, Cherry Valley, IL 61016.  Please call 815-874-5870 to verify operational hours and current disposal rates.

Rockford Yard Waste Guidelines

Leaf burning in the City of Rockford limits and unincorporated areas of Winnebago County within and immediately surrounding the City limits is illegal. Please call the Police and Fire non-emergency number to report illegal burning (815-966-2900).  Leaves can be collected the same as your other yard waste and picked up during your regularly scheduled garbage day. It is a violation to dispose of leaves and grass clippings into the streets as they clog both street sweepers and storm sewer drains which can cause flooding. Please report violations related to the disposal of leaves and grass clipping in City streets to the Public Works Department at 779-348-7175.

Electronic Waste (E-Waste) Disposal

Residential Consumer E-Waste – Beginning January 1, 2012, a new law went into effect prohibiting the disposal of Covered Electronic Devices (CEDs) in Illinois landfills.  These items will not be collected if placed out with sanitary garbage.  Please click here for the Illinois EPA’s current list of CEDs. In compliance with the Illinois EPA’s Consumer Electronics Recycling Act (CERA), residents may dispose of used and obsolete CEDs at one of two Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful Recycling Centers.  The Rockford Recycling Center is located at 4665 Hydraulic Road in Rockford. A second Recycling Center is now located in Machesney Park at 8409 N. 2nd Street.  Disposal is free of charge except for TVs and monitors that are subject to the fee schedule below.  Payment is credit or debit preferred and all major credit/debit cards are accepted.

  • TVs/Monitors under 19 inches . . . . . . . $15.00
  • TVs/Monitors 19 inches and over . . . . .$20.00
  • Projection TVs/Wood Console TVs . . . $25.00

In accordance with CERA, only intact electronics from residential consumers will be accepted.  Partial electronic devices, components and parts, and business-derived electronic waste will be rejected. The facility is open to the public on Tuesdays, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays. Hours may be restricted on and around holidays. In addition to the Rockford Recycling Center, KNIB has opened a second Recycling Center at 8409 N. 2nd Street, in Machesney Park, IL.  The facility is open Wednesdays, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays.  After-hour drop-offs are strictly prohibited and violators caught on the facility’s video surveillance system will be prosecuted accordingly. In addition to CEDs, please visit www.knib.org for further facility details and a comprehensive list of all accepted recyclables.

City of Rockford residents with electronics smaller than 2 feet by 2 feet may also place CEDs, except for TVs and monitors, in their City-issued blue recycling bins for collection.

Business/Commercial E-Waste – Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful also offers businesses and other commercial organizations a way to recycle their TVs, monitors, and electronics. This service is by appointment only and there is a cost involved. To schedule a drop-off or for more information and current disposal rates, please contact Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful at 815-637-1343.

Household Hazardous Waste

Effective 8/15/2022 – Please refer to News Release for temporary drop-off restrictions.

Illinois residents (not businesses) can dispose of household hazardous waste at the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Center at 3333 Kishwaukee Street on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m., excluding the holidays of New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Independence Day and Christmas. Commonly generated acceptable hazardous wastes includes the following: aerosols, corrosives, oxidizers, solvents, oil-based paints, waste oil, pesticides, fertilizers, batteries (no alkaline), and fluorescent lamps.  Up to 4 passenger tires (without the metal rim) per vehicle are also accepted at the site for Rockford residents. Large truck, semi, agricultural, and tires from commercial businesses are prohibited. Unacceptable waste includes: radioactive waste, compressed gas, explosives, large drums, and other bulk packaged materials. Waste generated from a commercial source or large volume containers typically larger than 5 gallons, will not be accepted.  The facility accepts a large variety of batteries with the exception of alkaline and automotive batteries.  Alkaline batteries should be discarded with your general trash. Automotive batteries should be returned to a local automotive or battery retailers for proper recycling.  Please refer to this Battery Management Guide to determine how to manage several battery types.  Although the facility will accept over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and insulin (no needles/sharps), it will not accept prescription medications.  Please refer to the Pharmaceuticals section below for prescription medication disposal options.

Latex paint will not be accepted.  Residents are encourage to dispose of open cans of latex paint by leaving them open to dry or by adding cat litter or oil dry to help speed up solidification process.  Paint cans containing completely dry paint, with lids removed, should then be placed next to garbage cans containing general household refuse on normal pick-up days.


Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful will occasionally host used medication drives for these items.  Prescription and other pharmaceuticals may also be disposed of for free in a 24-hour secure drop box located in the lobby of each Rockford Police Department District station and City Hall at the addresses listed below.  The Rockford Police Department’s Drug Collection Unit sites are open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding holidays. Citizens may drop off up to one, 1-gallon bag per visit, once a week. Medications shall be removed from the original container and placed in a clear, self-closing disposable bag, provided by the citizen disposing the medication.

  • District 1 – 1045 W. State Street
  • District 2 – 1410 Broadway
  • District 3 – 557 S. New Towne Drive
  • City Hall – 425 E. State Street

American Flags

The Flag of the United States of America is the internationally known symbol of our country and as such should be handled with the greatest respect. Flags should be properly disposed of when they become worn out, faded, torn or otherwise no longer presentable.  Flags in such condition may be deposited in a special drop-off box sponsored by the Eagle Scouts of America in the E. State Street entrance of City Hall, located a 425 E State Street.  The flags will be retired in accordance with the United States Flag Code.