One McLean County environmentalist is encouraged by the most recent figures on waste and recycling levels. Michael Brown, Executive Director of Normal's Ecology Action Center, calls it a "perfect scenario."
"Overall, waste generation is declining which is something you like to see. But at the same time we are seeing an increase in recycling so good practices, good behaviors as far as people recycling as much as they can, this is really what we're looking for, overall."
Brown says there were just over 183,000 tons of solid waste in the county last year, down 12% from the year before. That occurred while the recycling rate jumped 6.7% to 36.5%. Brown says the county is on target to reach the goal of 40% recycling within a year or two. He says the amount of waste will likely increase before it goes down. he thinks the decrease could be short-lived.
"Some of the waste generation decline is likely due to the economic recession. We are starting to see recovery, so the decline in waste generation is likely going to turn around here at some point."
Brown says, with both Bloomington and Normal fully implementing single-stream, curbside automatic cart recycling systems by the end of the year, that goal should be reached by 2015 or 16. He says increased construction and demolition material recycling will also help. That nearly doubled last year.
(photo: workers process hazardous waste during community-wide collection last fall)
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