Recycle First. Trash Last.

A new county-wide education campaign is geared to changing the mindset of how residents think about recycling.

230,000 households in Lake County have the option of curside recycling. While many are taking advantage of it, the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County wants to step up the efforts even more. SWALCO launched a new campaign Recycle First. Trash Last. to get residents to change the way they think about recycling.

"We want this to become an automatic habit for people. Instead of pulling the recyclables out of the trash we want residents to pull the trash out of the recycling," said Walter Willis, executive director of SWALCO.

The Recycle First. Trash Last. campaign is a partnership between SWALCO and the Curbside Value Partnership (CVP). CVP is a 501(c)(3) organization aimed at growing participation in curbside recycling programs nationwide with no cost to the county. To date 29 communitites and four states are running these education campaigns.

"It's never been easier to recycle materials that people use everyday," said Craig Cookson, CVP board member and the director of the Sustainability and Recycling, Plastics Division, for the American Chemistry Council. "There is more to recycling than just plastic bottles. There are tubs, lids, deli containers, laundry baskets and so much more."

"The bottom line is that we are running out of space at our landfills," said David Stolman, Lake County Board chairman. "We have to look ahead 15 to 20 years down the road. The less we put in the longer they will last."

Lake County's landfills are located in Countryside and Zion. Currently most of the county's recycled items go to the Waste Management Materials Recovery Facility in Grayslake, which processes 120,000 tons of recycled materials each year.

John Schultz, Plant Manager for the facility said he has plenty of room for increased volume when residents begin recycling curbside even more. "We have the space here, but we also have space at another facility in Calument City should we need to direct some recyclables there," he said.

SWALCO invested its education budget to develop the campaign, along with the help of local sponsors including Waste Management Inc., Groot Industries, Lakeshore Waste Services LLC, Resource Management Companies, Veolia Environmental Services and Lakes Disposal Services inc.

What You Will See With the New Campaign

Lake County residents will start seeing new signs reminding them to Recycle First. Trash Last. including radio and transit advertisements, direct mail, at the mall and various events and online.

You can also visit the website www.RecycleFirstTrashLast.org for a list of items that can be recycled, additional guidelines, signs, coloring pages, fliers and more that can be downloaded.

Jan Kirch September 13, 2012 at 04:27 PM
We really should be thinking about RE-use and REDUCE first, then Recycle and finally TRASH last. Jan Kirch
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