by Keith Beebe
SG/MP/ELB/KNVLâ€”The concept of recycling rarely comes across as complex. After all, whatâ€™s so difficult about placing plastics and paper in a separate bin when you are putting the garbage out? Well, some people might be interested to find out that although Elburn, Sugar Grove, Maple Park and Kaneville all embrace recycling programs, the overall approach to â€œgoing greenâ€ varies a bit from one village to another.
Take Elburn, for example, where residents pay a yearly recycling fee regardless of whether or not they use the service provided by Waste Management. In addition to the recycling bin provided by Waste Management, residents are able to use any container as an extra recycle bin, as long as it has â€œrecycle onlyâ€ written on it. The village also offers â€œrecycle onlyâ€ stickers free of charge. All materials, with the exception of items including hazardous waste (batteries, anti-freeze, pool chemicals, etc.), are acceptable for recycle pick-up.
â€œSince all Elburn residents pay for recycling, it makes sense for them to use the service and get the most out of their money,â€ Village Administrator Erin Willrett said. â€œThere is no separate rate (for recycling). Itâ€™s all bundled into one (cost covering trash pick-up).â€
Sugar Grove also has a contract with Waste Management, but provides each of its residents with one, 64-gallon container for recycling use. Common materials such as plastics, glass and cardboard are accepted, but used household batteries must be put in a sandwich bag and placed next to the recycling container.
â€œI donâ€™t think weâ€™ve ever had a resident ask for a second container, since the one we provide them with is quite large,â€ Sugar Grove Village Clerk Cynthia Galbreath said.
Maple Park, like Elburn and Sugar Grove, has a recycle pick-up contract with Waste Management, but the villageâ€™s approach to recycling containers is a bit more traditional. Waste Management provides all the bins, and any resident who wants a bigger container must pay extra for it.
And then there is Kaneville, where recycling is certainly encouraged but also greeted with a more freewheeling approach.
â€œWeâ€™ve typically let residents choose their own recycle pick-up service in the past,â€ Village Clerk Sandra Weiss said.
Kanevilleâ€™s guidelines regarding recycling will become more traditional on Jan. 1, 2011, when the village will enter into a recycle pick-up contract with Waste Management.
One â€œgreenâ€ item not allowed in any of these villageâ€™s recycle bins is a compacted fluorescent light bulb (CFL), which uses less energy and lasts considerably longer than incandescent light bulbs. The reason residents may not place these energy-saving light bulbs in their everyday recycle bin is because the bulbs contain very small amounts of mercury. However, residents can recycle CFL bulbs at any location that collects hazardous waste recyclables.