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Waukegan alderman calls for aggressive recycling campaign

A gutted discarded televisiset sits off curb Blanchard Road near Lyons Woods Waukegan last summer an example whcity officials say

A gutted and discarded television set sits off a curb on Blanchard Road near the Lyons Woods in Waukegan last summer, an example of what city officials say is a chronic problem in the city. | Dan Moran/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 13, 2014 7:56AM

Last week’s arrest of a local man for illegal dumping on the northwest side — an example of what officials say is an chronic, city-wide problem — was announced just as Waukegan implements a new disposal contract intended to boost recycling and cut down on things like discarded televisions.

At the Dec. 2 City Council meeting, 6th Ward Ald. Larry TenPas called on the city to be more aggressive with public-awareness campaigns regarding waste disposal, saying “I hate to be a gestapo (but) I’m really concerned about the non-recycling taking place.”

“We’re paying our garbage contract for pick-up recyclable materials each time,” TenPas said. “You look at the garbage cans that are overflowing, and you take a look — you can see aluminum cans, you can see a lot of recyclable material that should be in a recycling bin.

“Now we’re getting recycling carts, which is nice, but I don’t know if it’s going to help.

Somehow, we’re going to have to tag their garbage cans and say, ‘Too many recyclables included in your garbage.’”

On Dec. 1, the city entered into a the first year of a five-year pact for solid waste and recycling collection with Advanced Disposal Services. Waukegan will pay $4.5 million in the first year of the deal, and among the benefits touted by officials is a switch from a blue-bin recycling arrangement to a weekly pickup from a 65-gallon rolling cart.

The carts are scheduled to be delivered to residences the first two to three weeks of December. According to information released by the city, residents can upgrade to a 95-gallon recycling cart for one time only at no charge during the five-year contract. Customers must make arrangement with Advanced Disposal by calling (847) 623-3870.

Both TenPas and 7th Ward Ald. Lisa May called attention to the ongoing problem of television sets and other electronic components ending up in residential trash bins or left at the curb. May pointed out that under an arrangement with the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO), the Waukegan Public Works facility at 1700 McAree Road has a permanent drop-off bin for household electronics.

“(The new contract) does not mean that Advance is going to pick up your electronics. They’re not,” May said. “Your electronics need to be brought to the city yards. You must physically bring your electronics to city yards. You cannot put your TVs on the curb. You can’t do it now, you can’t do it in the future.”

TenPas said he drives his ward every day “and I see TVs put out, and some people are knocking them out, taking the copper out and it sits there.”

“The homeowner is going to have to start making arrangements to take those out (to public works) or see that somebody takes them out there. We need to get them in the bin out at public works,” TenPas said. “There’s a Dumpster there where you can load them in, and we need to push on that idea a little more, because I don’t think we’re doing a good enough job there.”

Accepted items for electronics recycling include not only televisions but also items like computers and tablets, cellular phones, microwave ovens and video game consoles.

Other features of the city’s disposal contract with Advanced includes pick-up of one bulk item per week and a continuation of no-charge curbside leaf vacuuming in the fall. Yard-waste collection will include a $125 subscription for weekly pickup during the spring and summer or individual collection for $2.25 per bag.

Noting that a complete list of information is posted on the city’s website (, TenPas said “we’re going to have to educate the public as educators to recycle for our benefit, for their benefit, for the landfill’s benefit, for the future.”

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