Green Scene: New programs urge recycling, composting

The city of DeKalb has signed a new five-year contract with Waste Management which will begin on Sept. 1. As part of the contract, residential customers will get two large toters, one for recycling and one for garbage. There will also be a pilot program for community-wide composting. We met with DeKalb Public Works Director T.J. Moore to discuss the changes residents will see with the new program.

Residents will be able to choose between 35-gallon and 65-gallon recycling toters, and 35, 65 or 96-gallon garbage toters.

“Residential customers will only see a 70 cent increase to their monthly bill, and residents who currently rent receptacles will actually see a reduction to their bill,” Moore said. The toters are on display in the entrance of the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St. Waste Management also will donate $40,000 for the city to place recycling containers throughout the downtown area.

Another new feature is the addition of Recyclebank, a home-recycling rewards program in which residents can acquire points for recycling. WM purchased part of the Recyclebank Company on March 12.

“We have looked at using Recyclebank before in DeKalb, but it didn’t really click for us. Now that Waste Management bought it, it is part of the package,” Moore said. The program offers incentives for recycling on the three different routes in DeKalb. Residents who sign up for the Recyclebank program will receive coupons when their route’s recycling volume increases.

The new composting program, which will be initially offered at no cost, will provide residents living in the test neighborhood with food-scrap receptacles for both the kitchen counter and outdoors.

“Here in DeKalb we are uniquely placed for a residential composting program,” Moore commented. “We have residents who will embrace such a program and a nearby landfill with a composting site. Waste Management is actually pushing for the composting program and recognizes that your waste has value.”

The neighborhood for the pilot composting program has not yet been selected; it is expected to begin in the spring of 2014. “The more waste diverted from the landfill, the better. It’s good for the municipality, the residents, and it’s good for Waste Management,” Moore said.

An educational brochure is being prepared by the city and will be sent out before the new Waste Management contract begins.

GreenScene is written by Renee Kopulos and Linda Yates, members of a citizens group working with the City of DeKalb Citizens Environmental Commission. Contact them at, with “GreenScene” in the subject line. The Citizens Environmental Commission next meets at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 20, at 200 S. Fourth St., DeKalb.

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