After voting at an emergency meeting on March 3, 2016 to close its five remaining collection sites effective May 1, 2016, the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO) Board of Directors reversed that decision at its April 14 meeting.
The concern over the lack of recycling options for residents, and the need for more time to try to amend the State law prompted over 15 Lake County units of local government to donate the approximately $62,000 needed to keep the program operating for the rest of this year.
“The Board is in a tough position, we are committed to recycling electronics and our residents have responded to create the most successful program in the State, but we are also faced with costs we never expected to have to pay for,” said SWALCO Chairman Larry Mount, a Round Lake Beach trustee. Mount added, “This voluntary funding provided by my village and others will keep the program running through the end of the year and the five collection sites have committed to stay open.”
According to Walter Willis, SWALCO Executive Director, “The Village of Grayslake was really the leader for this effort by starting the discussion on keeping the program going and offering a $20,000 contribution to fund it.” Willis added, “Long term the SWALCO Board will have to weigh its options for next year and beyond, we are working hard to amend the law and also to provide alternative collection options through the municipal hauling contracts in case the effort to amend the law is not successful.”
The SWALCO Board of Directors next meeting is in June and at that time it will know whether the effort to amend the Illinois Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act was successful. If not, SWALCO will have to decide what role it will play in the long term collection of electronics. Under the State law, local government is not required to provide collection services, but since the law was first implemented in 2010 numerous county and municipal governments have provided collection services and residents have relied on those programs to comply with the law which bans TVs, printers, computers and 15 other devices from the landfill.
For at least the remainder of the year, Lake County residents should continue to use the five collection sites located in Waukegan, Highland Park, Grayslake, Grant Township and Cuba Township. Information on the location and hours for the collection sites can be found on the website, www.swalco.org.
“SWALCO will continue to evaluate its options to sustain this very successful recycling program, and doits best to keep the public informed about the status of the program," Willis said.