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Universal Curbside Recycling in Peoria

July 9, 2009

Did you know:

  • Of the 40 U.S. cities closest in size to Peoria (20 larger and 20 smaller) 30 offer universal curbside recycling for all residents
  • Of those 40 U.S. cities, 17 have poverty levels of 15% or higher. Of those 17 cities, 12 have universal curbside recycling. (Of the other 5, one charges less for it than for each additional can of garbage; two only have drop off locations; one charges $3/month with a  low income discount; and one discontinued recycling in 2001, but picks up used motor oil and filters.)
  • Decatur, Springfield, Bloomington and Champaign-Urbana all provide universal curbside recycling
  • Of the 8 largest cities in Illinois, all but Peoria offer universal curbside recycling—those cities have also signed the Cool Cities agreement (Chicago, Aurora, Rockford, Joliet, Naperville, Springfield, Peoria, Elgin)

*Size, population and economic statistics from Wikipedia. Recycling information researched for each city.

The City of Peoria is deciding how it wants to proceed with it’s waste hauling contract which includes landfill/refuse waste, curbside recycling and landscape waste. As you can see, universal curbside recycling for all residents is something most comparable cities already offer and most have for a number of years.

If you think recycling is important for Peoria. Contact your City Council rep, the Mayor and join our email list to stay informed on where things stand. We’ll continue to add more information to this website over the next few days about ways that Peoria can demonstrate it’s commitment to sustainability through the waste contract, which ranked as a top priority to citizens according the City’s comprehensive plan draft.

Here’s a short list of reasons for the City to encourage recycling:

Environmental Reasons to Reduce Landfill Waste

  • Decomposition of waste in landfills produces methane (which should not be viewed as a renewable energy source, just a fix for existing landfills). Municipal Solid Waste landfills are the largest source of human-related methane (source: EPA)
  • Transportation of waste to the landfill produces greenhouse gases
  • Disposal of raw materials means more must be mined/harvested/produced causing a number of environmental hazards depending on the processes involved
  • There is limited land space that can be used for landfills worldwide
  • Organic matter put into the landfill means more nutrients from the land are being lost and more chemical/synthetic treatments will be needed to amend the soil
  • Composting reintroduces carbon to the soil vs the atmosphere (and vs converting to methane in the landfill). For example, Clifton, New Jersey, residents have reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 582 cars’ annual emissions through their composting efforts (source: www.climatemanual.org).
  • Recycling requires far less energy, uses fewer natural resources, reduces water pollution and protects wildlife (source: National Recycling Coalition)
  • Recycling offers significant energy savings over manufacturing with virgin materials, for example, manufacturing with recycled aluminum cans uses 95% less energy. (source: National Recycling Coalition)
  • Climate change and obtaining new raw materials often hurts the poor and 3rd world communities the most

Economic Reasons to Reduce Landfill Waste

  • Extending the life of current landfills
  • Composting and recycling facilities create more jobs in the U.S.
  • Lower disposal costs (realized by most communities)
  • Reduce health/environment costs
  • Composting provides a free source of soil amendments for yards and gardens
  • No one wants to live near a landfill
  • Less demand for electricity on the grid can be realized with lower utility rates

Don’t forget to let City Council know that you’d like to see universal recycling for Peoria today. They’ll discuss the waste contract again at the July 28 meeting.

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