Carts bring end to recycling center

Evanston's recycling center on Oakton Street is scheduled to close Aug. 1 as the city completes its switch to curbside recycling.

The closing is expected to save taxpayers nearly $100,000 a year, says Public Works Director Suzette Robinson.

Robinson says two surveys showed that over half the people using the recycling center weren't from Evanston.

As part of a plan adopted by the City Council last winter, the city expanded curbside recycling to all multi-family dwellings and businesses and provided new, larger recycling carts to single-family homes which previously used smaller open bins.

Overall, Robinson says, the city will be able to stop subsidizing non-residents while providing more convenient curbside recycling for those who do live here.

Residents with questions regarding recycling or refuse collection can contact the City of Evanston Streets and Sanitation Division at 847/866-2940.

 

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Evanston recycling is becoming garbage

Evanston residents should be aware that the quality of materials in our single-stream (everything put in one bin) recycling program continues to degrade with no action to prevent it on the part of either the city or Groot, the company that collects the material.
The number one problem is plastic bags. Since the very beginning of recycling in Evanston, the cardinal rule has been to leave everything loose in the bin. This has become the exception now as folks routinely bag things for convenience. The MRF, aka "murph", the materials reprocessing facility in Itasca that Groot uses to separate recyclables, operates using gravity, vibration, blown air, etc., all of which are defeated by plastic bagging. In addition, plastic bags jam the machinery. People should realize that everything they bag must be manually unbagged by Groot at the murph and that additional employees must be retained to do this.
Groot doesn't want to lose the recycling contract with the city, so doesn't cite residents who put non-recyclables in the blue bins because it would give rise to resident complaints. Though Groot drivers have stickers they can place on bins that contain non-recyclables, they do not do so.
Groot is a business that makes a profit no matter what they pick up. If they get less for the end product in the recycling process and must take more to the landfill, the cost is simply passed on to the city.
The city, for reasons that have never been explained, refuses to alert citizens to the problem. I have repeatedly asked Suzette Robinson to take action on this.
If plastic bags weren't bad enough bad enough, people are also placing styrofoam, plate glass, mirrors, clothes hangers, 2x4's, grass clippings, plastic grocery bags, ziploc bags and much else in the blue bins. Remember the rules? We are supposed to empty things, clean things, only put in plastic containers with certain numbers, etc. All of this is being forgotten because nothing is refused for pickup.
While the discussion recently has been about whether the city should pick up recycling or the garbage while Groot take the other, the reality is that both are increasingly alike and, as you might expect, this means lower prices for materials recycled, more contamination and ultimately, less recycling and more landfilling - only now the garbage takes an extra trip to the MRF before going to the landfill. Is this crazy or what?