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Would Recycling Center Be Harmless Or Harmful?

After citizens defeated Lakeshore Waste's proposal to site a garbage station in Morton Grove near Skokie's Niles West HS, Lakeshore proposed a recycling center. A citizens' group said it doesn't want one in Morton Grove; Lakeshore co

 

A Morton Grove citizens' group does not want a Lakeshore Waste Services recycling center near residents' homes near Austin and Oakton, a leader of the group said Tuesday. 

Members of the group, which formed this summer to oppose the possibility of Lakeshore Waste Services placing a waste transfer station on its property at 6132 W. Oakton, Morton Grove,  toured recycling and/or garbage facilities in Glenview, Northbrook and Mount Prospect. 

However, Josh Connell, president of Lakeshore Waste, said that two of the three facilities the group visited are not the type Lakeshore would build in Morton Grove. The recycling center it plans would process clean materials and be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, he said.

Citizens' group unhappy with what members saw

The citizens' group members said that after touring the three facilities, they concluded a recycling center would not be much better than a waste transfer station.

"It's a form of garbage--just not as raw. We have the same concerns with a recycling center as we did with the garbage transfer station," said Tom Maddex, who lives near the proposed facility, as do other members of the citizens' group, Citizens to Stop Morton Grove Garbage Transfer Station.

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Morton Grove Mayor Dan Staackmann said he intends to meet with the group soon and wants to hear their concerns. 

Connell stated the citizens' group's conclusion about garbage is not the case.

"There is no garbage allowed in a recycling facility," he said. "Per the EPA, we wouldn't have garbage being sorted. We might have piles of material being sorted, but it would be clean material. There would be no raw material that would be food for rodents.

"There might be drywall and wood, but no raw food or garbage."

Lakeshore first proposed idea last spring

The citizens' group's statement opposing a recyling center is the latest in a chain of events which has stretched out since about May, when Lakeshore floated the idea of a waste transfer station.

The group was pleased in September when Lakeshore Waste Services said it would not locate a waste transfer station on its property there. That followed weeks of residents' intense opposition to the idea of a waste transfer station at the site.

Earlier: Residents show up in force at village meeting to protest waste transfer station

Earlier: Plans Dropped for Morton Grove waste transfer station

Touring three facilities

Maddex and Chris Bellina, who both live on Cleveland Street, recently toured three facilities:

  • The Arc Disposal facility in Mount Prospect, which Maddex said handles both solid waste and recycling materials. 
  • A Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) solid waste transfer station in Glenview near River Road and north of Central.
  • C&D Recycling in Northbrook, which recycles construction materials from builders anda contractors. 

After seeing trucks deposit recycled materials on the floor of the Mount Prospect facility, Maddex said, "It was clear to us that recycling material, when collected at curbs, is really no different than garbage."

"It's not as smelly as solid waste, but you have no control over what people put in the recycling bins," he said, adding that cans or bottles could have food remaining in them.

Concerns about rodents, truck traffic

Maddex and Bellina talked to a man who worked at a business near the Mount Prospect facility, and he said they tried to be good neighbors, but that residents two blocks away complained about rats, Maddex said.

The Northbrook facility, which handles only construction materials, received complaints about truck traffic and had to re-route trucks, he said.

Connell said that of the three sites the group visited, only the Northbrook site, which handles the construction materials, would be similar to the possible Lakeshore recycling facility. As for the group's concern about truck traffic, Connell responded that the facility already has about 60 to 70 trucks a day going in and out, without any concerns from residents.

He pointed out, though, that the facility is located in a heavy industrial area, with trucks going in and out all the time.

Of the businesses in the area, 14 produce or use hazardous materials, which Lakeshore would not do, Connell said, and he noted that one business near Niles West's football field billows smoke.

Also, two neighboring businesses are food processors, a type of business which he said is likely to attract rodents.

Thinking of property values

The citizens' group supports recycling, but doesn't want the facility so close to their homes and to Niles West High School, Maddex said. They're concerned it might bring rodents, noise and truck traffic, and Maddex also said his research found that fires sometimes occur at the facilities.

"We're concerned about our property values and the marketability of our homes," he said.

He added that the other facilities were all more buffered from residential areas. 

Mayor: concerned about impact on community

Staackmann said he hopes to meet with the citizens' group this week.

"The village is in the process of assembling information and  setting up a meeting with them," he said. "I and the village board share the same concerns they may have, (such as) how will this impact our community. Hopefully everything will work out to the benefit of all."

He emphasized that Lakeshore Waste has not made an application, or even a formal inquiry, about siting a recycling center on the property.

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Pat Craig October 19, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Not a bad idea Sherwin. Those who are working on recycling are attempting to DO something about a problem rather than adding to it by bellyaching.
Pat Craig October 19, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Just did some research and Lakeshore Waste Services LLC is privately owned, so can't buy stock. It's a shame becuse they seem like a well run company.
Allow us to set a few things straight. We are fully aware that there are no formal or informal plans submitted to the Village regarding a recycling center. We do know Lakeshore is considering this type of operation. Based on the information provided to our group from Josh Connell, President of Lakeshore Waste, we did our research in addition to visiting other facilities, we concluded, that this type of facility is not as innocent as it sounds. People need to realize that the recycling facility being considered is the first stop for recycling container contents driven in by collection trucks. Much of the collected material still contains remnants of what was in the original containers, aka food waste. The proper terminology is a garbage-sorting center, clean from dirty is step one. Don't be misled by the environmental friendly phrase of recycling. We have met with Lakeshore Waste and Village officials twice; our investigations were based on what was explained in these meetings. For someone to claim our research has no frame of reference is absurd and irresponsible.
Continued The purpose of our recent press release was to provide an update for concerned residents that have been curious where this issue is at. We wanted to inform people that we were in communication with Lakeshore about future plans, we did our homework and we wanted to share our findings with Village officials. We met with Mayor Dan Staackmann and a few department heads on October 18th, a few days after this story was posted. Our message was simple; when the time comes and the process begins, we will oppose this type of business. There may be people making comment claiming to speak for our group, we can’t prevent that, anyone interested in speaking with the front end of the horse can write us at notrash1@att.net Lastly, Lakeshore Waste Services intent for a Waste Transfer Station or Recycling Center is not an attempt to solve a problem, it’s for increased corporate profitability; Cash for Trash.
sherwin dubren October 22, 2012 at 05:23 AM
It's obvious to me that Lakeside people don't care about any hazards or disruptions to the residents of Morton Grove. They are governed strictly by corporate profits. If the village officials encourage this, they are guilty of the same lack of regard for the residents they are sworn to protect.

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