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County Zero Waste task force proposal OK’d by committee

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014 11:21 p.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – County Zero Waste task force members hope that in the future their priorities can be expanded and recycling opportunities can be provided for more DeKalb County residents.

The task force was created in October to explore a zero waste policy, which means residents would rely on other means of disposing of waste, such as reusing materials and recycling. Since October, the 13-member team, including residents, members of the health department and government representatives, agreed upon a list of priorities for the future which were presented to the Planning and Zoning Committee as recommendations Wednesday. The recommendations are expanding opportunities for rural recycling, commercial/multi-unit housing recycling and harvesting organics.

Since the recommendations were approved Wednesday by the Planning and Zoning Committee, the recommendations will go to the County Board on Sept. 27 for a final vote on whether the plan for zero waste initiatives is something the county wants to pursue.

“I’m ecstatic right now,” said board member Marc Johnson, D-Sycamore, and a member of the task force. “We’ve put so much work into this. I’m hoping someday we can create some sort of pilot program to harvest organics and work on making recycling available to apartment complexes.”

Task force members hope if their recommendations are one day put into place that the rate at which the landfill accepts refuse can be reduced by 50 percent in 20 years, from the current rate of 4.28 pounds per capita per day to 2.14 pounds by 2034.

The report states some costs will be associated with the plan, such as increasing the current solid waste coordinator position from part time to full time. However, the report anticipates there will be additional costs beyond personnel, but they are unknown pending further planning.

Charles Foster, R-Shabbona and member of the Planning and Zoning Committee, did not want to move forward with the recommendations because of the ambiguity of the costs, and voted against the recommendations.

Task force member Steve Challgren, representing Ideal Industries, said there was a cost to doing nothing to address the amount of garbage that is building up in the landfill. Challgren said he was originally unaware of how much garbage winds up in landfills, but since he joined the task force, it has opened his eyes to more information.

“I have two children of my own,” Challgren said. “In 20 years, I don’t want this to be a problem they have to deal with.”

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