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Environment and Sustainability

McLean County's Recycling Rate Rises For Third Straight Year

Recycling carts
City of Bloomington
McLean County's communitywide recycling rate rose to 46.4% in 2018, up from 41.9% in 2017.

McLean County’s recycling rate increased for the third year in a row in 2018.

The Ecology Action Center’s annual calculation of communitywide waste production and recycling shows that the county reached a recycling rate of 46.4%, making it the third year in a row that the county has increased its recycling rate. That’s up from 41.9% in 2017.

EAC Executive Director Michael Brown said he believes the newly released data is a nice reflection of the community’s attitudes toward recycling.

“I think the newly released data shows a continuation of a successful recycling program. We have a very long history in this community of supporting recycling efforts,” said Brown. “So essentially, we’ve been building upon that effort for years and had a lot of different, good initiatives in the community to promote recycling and make it more accessible for residents.”

The Ecology Action Center said no single category of recyclable materials saw significant fluctuations from 2017 to 2018, while “there were minor fluctuations across the board in all material streams.” The center said a “likely contributing factor to the improved recycling rate is an improvement in the quality of data received by the EAC by local entities.”

Aiming for 50% Recycling Rate

Based on the 20-Year Materials Recovery and Resource Management Plan, the EAC hopes to hit a communitywide recycling rate of 50% by 2022.

“We’re actually fairly close,” said Brown.

Although a few years ago, McLean County was hovering over 40% for some time, Brown said that the upcoming eco-friendly initiatives should help keep the recycling rate on the rise.

The 20-Year Materials Recovery and Resource Management Plan originally began as a five-year plan but quickly developed into a long-term solution for addressing waste management. Among other things, the plan called for more recycling from those living in multifamily residences, like apartments.

This month the Town of Normal’s new multifamily recycling ordinance went into effect, requiring landlords to offer recycling options. The change will impact many Illinois State University students living in off-campus apartments who lobbied for the change. Brown said this change will positively contribute to the recycling rate, but he’s not sure how significantly yet.

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