Remembering the Three R's
By Village Manager Phil Kiraly
With Earth Day fast approaching, reducing our community’s contribution to the landfill has been front of mind for me and my staff. Recycling has always been a priority in Glencoe, as we were one of the first communities to institute curbside recycling in 1990, program that continues with our current curbside recycling program with Lakeshore Recycling Systems and through our special recycling programs that take place throughout the year. I am proud of the fact Glencoe has a 37% waste diversion rate (the second highest (behind only Kenilworth) amongst the 23 SWANNC communities) and I encourage you to keep working on increasing your recycling efforts.
At the same time, I also challenge each of you to consider ways to limit the amount of waste you produce in the first place. Last year alone, Glencoe contributed 2,811 tons (about 633 pounds on average per person) to the landfill. With this in mind, and with spring cleaning commencing soon for many, I wanted to share ways to reduce your overall contribution to the waste stream by focusing all components of the “Three R’s”: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
- Replace your single-use products. One simple way to reduce your consumption is to replace your everyday single-use products with multi-use ones. Some examples:
- Replace plastic and paper grocery bags with totes;
- Replace bottled water and paper coffee cups with reusable water bottles and travel carafes;
- Replace plastic food storage with glass products;
- Replace plastic wrap with washable, cotton bowl covers ;
- Replace paper kitchen products (paper towels, napkins, paper plates, plastic utensils) with re-usable; alternatives; If you must have a disposable option, opt for wooden products.
- Buy products with less packaging.
- Buy in bulk: For those non-perishable household items, buy in bulk as it often requires less packing.
- Think about your online shopping: While it may be tempting to buy everything you need online, be mindful that most products are not initially packaged ready-to-ship, which that extra packaging is necessary to get the product to your doorstep.
- Skip the trip to your mailbox and go-paperless.
- Stop junk mail: This is really a win-win situation. You don’t want the catalog from that store you went to once on vacation, and we don’t want to see that catalog arrive at your door one second only to be thrown in the recycling bin (or worse, the trash can) the next. Contact the company and ask to receive the catalog via e-mail (or better yet, to be removed from their mailing list altogether).
- Sign up for online billing: Set up paperless billing and automatic payments to avoid paper statements, envelopes and checks going back and forth between you and your utility providers. While the Village doesn’t yet offer paperless billing for water and sewer, you can skip the check and enroll in automatic payments via the Payment Center.
- Shop your home for up-cycling opportunities.
- From reupholstering chairs, to repainting an old table, to simply trying out a piece of furniture in a new location – before going out to the store, consider ways to reuse what you already have.
- Consign at a local shop.
- By consigning old furniture, décor, accessories and clothing at local shops (like the North Shore Exchange) you not only avoid sending items to the landfill—you get to exchange money for unwanted items and support a local business. Added bonus of consigning with the North Shore Exchange is that after you are paid for your item, the store donates proceeds of the sale to Chicagoland children and families in need.
- Sell your items online.
- From eBay, to LetGo, to Facebook Marketplace – options for selling unwanted items online (and via apps) are on the rise.
- Donate. Donate. Donate.
- If option one and two are unappealing, there are endless opportunities for donating unwanted clothes, furniture and appliances in our area. So before you put items at the curb for Spring Clean-Up Day (on Wednesday, May 2), check out this list of donation centers we have provided.
- Still need more options? Check out SWANNC’s “Green Pages” for a recycling and reuse directory.
We’ve come a long way since the days where recycling meant separating your glass, paper and aluminum into three separate bins and bringing them to a drop-off center. Since the Village first launched a recycling program in the 1980s technology has evolved tremendously – allowing for waste processing facilities that accommodate single stream recycling. Here’s an overview of the Village’s recycling programs with Lakeshore Recycling Systems, as well as the Village’s special recycling programs.
- Curbside collection: While you’re hopefully well versed in our curbside program at this point, you can check out this list of acceptable items here. When we moved to a standardized 95-gallon recycling cart for every household in 2015, you hopefully have plenty of room for tossing those recyclables in your recycling cart rather than in the trash.
- Special recycling: Did you know that you can drop-off electronics at the Public Works Service building on Wednesdays (by appointment)? Or that can drop-off recyclable items that can’t go in your curbside recycling (like batteries, lightbulbs, cell phones, ink cartridges and the like) at the Public Works Service building any day of the week? We also provide prescription drug drop off at Public Safety for unused or expired prescription and household medications, and Sharps recycling at Village Hall. Learn more about special recycling programs here.
- Combined food scrap and yard waste collection: The Village’s new combined curbside yard waste and composting service allows residents to dispose of compostable materials such as fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, paper napkins and yard waste in a biodegradable paper yard waste bags, or curbside bins between April 1 and December 15. There are two options for participated in this new service: volume-based (stickers) and subscription (annual payment). Learn more here.