WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) — Lake County commissioners are using an upside down garbage can as their symbol of a new effort to start recycling 60 percent — instead of 40 percent — of everything left at the curb in the northern suburbs.

Walter Willis, executive director of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, said the county sends 60 percent of everything it collects from curbside to landfills, and recycles only 40 percent.

He hopes the “recycle first, trash last” campaign will switch those numbers so that Lake County is recycling 60 percent of everything it collects, disposing of 40 percent.

“I think people are somewhat confused about some of the containers that they can recycle; things like your French onion dip container, or the paper cup that you get from McDonalds, the large five-gallon buckets that you can recycle, non-motorized toys,” he said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

The new ad campaign includes images of an overturned, empty trash can. In one ad online, a little girl uses the overturned trash can as a stool to put a plastic bucket on top of an overflowing recycling bin.

Willis says several suburbs including Kildeer, Mundelein, Winthrop Harbor and North Chicago are already offering bigger recycling bins — 95 instead of 65 gallons — to encourage recycling.

Willis says things people still throw out as garbage which should be recycled instead include: books, junk mail, and magazines. In terms of plastics; lids, deli containers, flower pots, laundry baskets and plastic toys like “Big Wheel” tricycles can be recycled.

Willis said Lake County recycles 10,000 of materials per month, and he’s hoping that figure will be boosted to 15,000 tons a month with the “recycle first, trash last campaign.”

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