Keeping recyclables under cover

By on May 27, 2011

Board votes to amend ordinance
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—With an ordinance on the books that all recycled materials set out for pick-up be covered, many residents are wondering just how to follow the rule. On Monday, the Village Board voted 4-2 to amend the ordinance from requiring recyclables to be “covered” to requiring recyclables to be “secured.”

The board’s decision to look at the ordinance came from observations that plastic bags and other light items are blowing out of uncovered bins and are littering the village.

Last week, Waste Management presented a proposal to the village that would provide each resident with a 96-gallon covered tote. The tote has a lid and looks like a standard garbage container with wheels. The bin currently provided is the blue open container. Waste Management also proposed picking up every other week rather than every week.

The village enters into a contract with the company, currently for five years at a time.

At the meeting on Monday, the board discussed the pros and cons of the proposal.

“What this will do is that we will be living by our own ordinance,” Anderson said. “I got calls (this week) asking, ‘How do you cover it?’ I didn’t have an answer. Now, (Waste Management) will provide a recycling tote for all houses. To me, it’s a no-brainer.”

Trustees Ken Anderson and Dave Gualdoni each expressed concern that the village would in essence be dictating to the residents that they must recycle. Both suggested continuing an education program to encourage better securing of trash.

Other trustees questioned the size of the proposed tote. Currently the bin is 65 gallons. The tote would be much larger at 96 gallons. They argued that it might be too big for some residents’ garage and be left outside, making neighborhoods unsightly.

Anderson said that if the village does not provide a container with a lid, people will stop recycling.

“The ordinance says your recycling must be covered. We either have to change the ordinance or come up with some kind of cover if we don’t approve this proposal,” Anderson said. “If we don’t do something, that’s what’s going to happen (people are going to stop recycling).”

Two motions failed before the change of ordinance passed. The first, offered by Bill Grabarek, called for a direct acknowledgement that Elburn intends to be a green, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) community.

“We’ve been touting ourselves as green and not doing anything about it,” Grabarek said. “This is the first step. We need to decide what sort of community or place we want to be.”

The motion failed 2-4, with Jeff Walter and Bill Grabarek voting for it.

The second motion, offered by Jerry Schmidt, called for accepting Waste Management’s proposal. It failed in a 2-4 vote, with Schmidt and Walter voting for it.

The final motion, offered by Bill Grabarek, amended the wording of the ordinance. It carried in a 4-2 vote, with Ken Anderson and Walter voting against it.

“I think we just took a step backward for the village of Elburn tonight,” Walter said. “We took the teeth out of enforcement. We just made it easier to put trash at the curb that’s not properly secured.”

One Comment

  1. RM

    May 28, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    It seems like a no brainer to use the larger containers. A larger container would allow pickup every other week so Waste Management would save money. Seems greener all the way around. I don’t understand K. Anderson’s and Gualdoni’s concerns about dictating that everyone must recycle. Everyone SHOULD recycle and throwing recyclables into trash should not be allowed. The blue totes are a pain when they’re filled with newspaper. Some of us aren’t so young anymore and something with wheels is more appropriate. The problem is the additional fees of rental. Walter is being overly dramatic in saying we took a step backward. Most of us are responsible and will continue to be regardless of what the board decides.