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Waste Reduction Resources

Illinois Commodity/Waste Generation and Characterization Study

Completed in March 2015, this report documents the types and quantities of materials generated in Illinois, the generating sectors, the quantities that are potentially recoverable and those that are otherwise landfilled. The study also sheds light on how much value there still is to capture and where it might be most economical to do so. This data can enable sound policy and program design, implementation and program analyses for both the public and private sector. The data can be used for strategic planning; developing legislative initiatives; evaluating effectiveness of current recovery efforts; targeting programs and educational efforts to advance recovery of commodities; providing guidance to state agencies and local governments; and aid in fulfilling the responsibilities under the Illinois Solid Waste Management Act, the Solid Waste Planning and Recycling Act, and the Illinois EPA Act by local governments or management districts. Click here for a copy of this document.

Illinois Task Force on the Advancement of Materials Recycling

Public Act 97-853 (HB-4986) created this Task Force in an effort to review the status of recycling and solid waste management planning in Illinois. The goal of the Task Force was to investigate and provide recommendations for expanding waste reduction, recycling, reuse, and composting in Illinois in a manner that protects the environment, as well as public health and safety, and promotes economic development. Click here for a copy of this document.

Workplace Waste Reduction Tools

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) in partnership with the Illinois Recycling Association (IRA) have worked to develop a tool to help Illinois businesses and organizations reduce the amount of material they pay to have landfilled.  The “Recycling Works: A Toolkit for Reducing Waste in the Workplace” resource guide was developed by Shaw Environmental with the support of a DCEO grant to IRA.  Click here for a copy of this document.

Best Operational Practices Manual for Materials Recovery Facilities and Recycling Drop-offs

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) in partnership with the Illinois Recycling Association (IRA) have worked to develop this manual to further advance professional recycling in Illinois. The purpose and intent of this manual is to assist those Illinois counties, cities and businesses that own/operate materials recovery facilities (MRFs) and recycling drop-offs to evaluate their operations in accordance of with Best Operational Practices (BOPs) improve processing efficiencies, reduce operating costs, increase the potential to improve revenues for the materials recovered, to reduce negative environmental impacts, and advance safety consciousness. Click here for a copy of this document.

Food Scrap Composting Challenges and Solutions in Illinois Report

The Illinois Food Scrap Coalition (IFSC) was formed to build upon the growing interest in Illinois to advance food scrap composting across the state. The IFSC promotes diverting, capturing, and converting organic material to create quality compost that can be sold commercially and used to build soil nutrients, conserve water, sequester carbon, reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers, and replenish Illinois soils on farms, municipal and private sector landscaping and home garden applica¬tions. The IFSC also supports the use of food scraps for the creation of renewable energy and other useful by-prod¬ucts through the utilization of anaerobic digestion as an alternative to composting. The Food Scrap Composting Challenges and Solutions in Illinois Report, issued in January 2015, was funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and authored by Illinois non-profit organization Seven Generations Ahead (SGA) on behalf of the IFSC. This report is designed to educate elected officials, composting industry stakeholders and advocates, and the public at-large about opportunities and strategies related to developing a robust food scrap composting industry in Illinois and is the culmination of national and regional research conducted on policies, programs, strategies, and economic development potential related to food scrap composting, and input through stakeholder forum. Click here for a copy of the report.

Decision Makers' Guide to Solid Waste Management

The USEPA developed the Decision Maker's Guide to Solid Waste Management for solid waste management practitioners including local government officials, facility owners and operators, consultants and regulatory agency specialists. This guide contains technical and economic information to help these practitioners meet the daily challenges of planning, managing, and operating municipal solid waste (MSW) programs and facilities. Its primary goals are to encourage reduction of waste at the source, and foster implementation of integrated solid waste management systems that are cost-effective and protect human health and the environment. Click here for a copy of this document.

ILCSWMA Recycling Measurements Working Group Final Report

The Illinois Counties Solid Waste Management Association (ILCSWMA) Recycling Measurements Working Group (Working Group) was established to address the inconsistencies and ambiguities encountered in the current recycling measurement reporting process for municipal waste. Unclear definitions and inconsistent interpretations have led to considerable variability in what Illinois counties have been counting as being recycled. This has resulted in a significant disparity of recycling rates from county to county, making them impossible to compare.

This report provides the actions and conclusions of the Working Group, as well as relevant background information. Included are descriptions of the approach taken, the agreed upon interpretations, the agreed upon recycling rate methodology, and recommendations concerning derivation of the waste generation rate, uniformed reporting periods, and the appropriate State agency to handle recycling reporting. Click here for a copy of this document.

Elementary School Teacher’s Guide: Municipal Solid Waste and the 4Rs

​This manual has been designed for use at the elementary school level in classrooms where instruction dealing with municipal solid waste (MSW) and the 4Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle, and re-buy- is believed to be important.  Click here for a copy of this document. 

Middle School Teacher’s Guide: Municipal Solid Waste and the 4Rs

This manual has been designed for use at the middle school level in classrooms where instruction dealing with municipal solid waste (MSW) and the 4Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle, and re-buy- is believed to be important.  Click here for a copy of this document. 

More Jobs, Less Pollution: Growing the Recycling Economy in the U.S.

This study-- prepared by Tellus Institute with Sound Resource Management and prepared for the BlueGreen Alliance, Teamsters, SEIU, NRDC, Recycling Works!, and GAIA—provides strong evidence that an enhanced national recycling and composting strategy in the United States can significantly and sustainable address critical national priorities including climate change, lasting job creation, and improved health. Click here for a copy of this document.

Understanding Economic and Environmental Impacts of Single-stream Collection Systems

In 2009 the Container Recycling Institute undertook a study on the impacts of single-steam collection of residential recyclables, with a particular focus on the economic and environmental impacts of this collection method on the final material sent to end-markets for remanufacturing. Click here for a copy of this document.

Guidelines of Best Management Practices for the Operation of Post-Consumer (Tear-off) Asphalt Shingle Recycling Facilities

Developed by the Illinois Tollway, this document provides potential recyclers/processors with guidelines for recycling post-consumer tear-off asphalt shingles into a raw material for hot mix asphalt that meets Illinois Tollway specifications for use in hot-mix asphalt applications. Click here for a copy of this document.