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Grayslake moves ahead on commercial recycling

Updated: April 22, 2013 2:48AM

GRAYSLAKE — Village trustees moved ahead Tuesday night on a plan to eventually implement a commercial waste and recycling program.

Following a public hearing on the subject earlier in the evening, the board authorized staff to call for proposals from various waste and recycling haulers qualified to service the program.

After offering residents a waste and recycling program for years, trustees adopted a plan in May 2012 to include commercial businesses on a voluntary basis.

At the time, Mayor Rhett Taylor said: “A program to encourage commercial recycling would bring business into line with our popular residential recycling efforts, helping us to reach the county’s goal of achieving a 60 percent recycling ratio by 2020.”

However, at the public hearing, Peggy Macenas, regional director of the Illinois chapter of the National Solid Wastes Management Association, opposed the village’s franchise plan to select only one waste/recycling hauler rather than let each business select their own hauler.

The village supports a uniform franchise approach using one vendor under municipal bidding procedures, similar to its residential waste and recycling program conducted by Waste Management.

“The one-size-fits-all approach, such as your municipal franchise agreement, is inefficient when it comes to serving commercial customers,” Macenas told the board.

“Competition is a good thing and results in lower prices and better services. We want to be at the table and participate,” she said.

However, Steve Lawrence, past president of the Grayslake Chamber of Commerce and a supporter of the franchise approach, said other Lake County communities are successfully implementing such recycling programs for their businesses and saving money for them as well.

Grayslake resident Diane Miller agreed. “I think it is better to have just one hauler involved rather than have numerous trucks constantly running over our downtown streets,” she said.

Walter Willis, director of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, said using one hauler makes sense both financially and administratively, just as it does with the village’s residential waste/recycling disposal.

“This is a partnership to increase commercial recycling, and it will prove to be an important community service,” he said.

Macenas has accused SWALCO of profiting from such programs by receiving additional monthly fees from communities they help.

“These fees are built into the prices the commercial customer pays so the customer never sees the itemized fees on their bill,” she maintains.

Willis denies that. “No money comes to SWALCO from this program,” he said adamantly.

Staff plans to mail out requests for proposals shortly and the voard is expected to review results in March or April.

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