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Recycling on the rise in Evanston

Evanston residents increased their recycling by five percent last year.

Streets and Sanitation Superintendent Suzette Eggleston says new figures from the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County show city residents recycled 7,238 tons of material in 2007.

Eggleston credited the gain to increased efforts by sanitation division workers to promote recycling awareness among residents and residents themselves for proving they really care about the environment by discarding less and recycling more.

She said she hopes to see another five percent increase in recycling this year.

Evanston’s 14,550 single family households also set out 6,300 tons of yard waste that was transferred to a landscape company for composting. Yard waste collection along with recycling tonnage create Evanston’s 2007 diversion rate of 42.27 percent, the highest it’s ever been.

"That is a major accomplishment," said Carolyn Collopy, sustainable programs coordinator.

Evanston’s diversion rate for the past three years has been around 37.5 percent. SWANCC communities that, like Evanston, don’t yet using large recycling carts, average a 35 percent diversion rate, those that have the big carts average 38 percent.

"Recycling and separating yard waste from trash means these materials are diverted from traditional disposal such as landfilling," Collopy said.

Evanston’s diversion rate surpassed those of several neighboring towns — Lincolnwood, 28.25 percent, Skokie, 36.77 percent and Niles, 29.4 percent. Wilmette, however, leads the area with 44.5 percent.

The city plans to introduce 65- and 95-gallon recycling roll carts to its residents over the next few years to encourage more recycling.

"With more space to discard their recycled goods, residents will find it convenient to recycle more," said Eggleston.

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