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Local News

Waste Management seeks cleaner recycling

No more peanut butter

JOLIET – Waste Management wants better recycled materials next year.

More plastic, cardboard and cans and less peanut butter, drywall and bowling balls, a company representative advised Joliet residents at a community meeting Monday.

The company will pick up recycling once a week starting Jan. 1, up from the every-other-week recycling that Joliet now gets. Waste Management also will provide its new At Your Door service, picking up electronics and hazardous waste at residents’ homes.

But the company wants to see less garbage in recycling carts.

“We really need to make sure that the materials going into the recycling carts are clean and recyclable,” said Michael Morley, municipal marketing manager.

Morley said large recycling carts with lids have allowed Waste Management to collect more recycled materials at once. But strange things that were easily seen in the old open recycling bins sometimes are not spotted.

“With the cart program, people put some things in there,” Morley said. “Maybe they were well meaning – but garden hoses and bowling balls. I’m not kidding you.”

Later, Morley added two-by-fours and drywall to a list of things that get into recycling carts.

But even less conspicuous objects – including plastic shopping bags and recyclable plastic jars coated with peanut butter or other food – are problems, he said.

“The plastic jar is OK to be recycled if it is completely cleaned out,” he said. “But we all know that’s really a task – getting all that peanut butter out of there.”

Buyers of recycled materials are getting stricter on what they will accept, Morley said. And recycled material contaminated by garbage is getting tougher to sell.

Morley said Waste Management will begin an education program, including brochures advising people of what’s recyclable and what’s not. But it may also start putting stickers on carts at households where the recycling carts repeatedly contain garbage, too.

Even so, Joliet residents will get a lot more for its money starting Jan. 1.

Garbage fees will stay the same as services go up, Meg McEvilly, the city’s purchasing and contract administrator, said at the community meeting held to explain the new program.

Once-a-week recycling is one welcome addition to the Joliet garbage program.

“You don’t have to worry about the calendar – whether your neighbors put it out. It’s going to be weekly,” McEvilly said. “That’s simple enough.”

Residents at the meeting said they liked what they heard.

“I think it’s great,” Betty Richter said. “There are a lot more services. That At Your Door program sounds wonderful.”

• Weekly recycling pick-up
• At Your Door service picks up electronics and hazardous waste at the house
• Switch to bigger or smaller cart at no charge until March 1

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