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East Peoria Trashes Curbside Recycling Program

An East Peoria recycling toter
An East Peoria recycling toter

East Peoria is trashing its recycling program effective May 1.The city faces a $5.4 million budget deficit due to COVID-19. This is combined with recent hits to the recycling market in recent years. Mayor John Kahl says his household recycles, but it doesn't make sense in this economic climate.

"The markets were impacted heavily by China, and they quit taking the recyclables. So unfortunately, gears shifted, and it is more expensive to recycle. And quite honestly, sadly enough, a lot of it does go straight to the dump," he said.

Recycling tipping fees were costing the city about 60 percent more than budgeted this year. The city budgeted $32,000, but has already spent more than $51,000. Nearly $77,000 was projected to be spent by the end of the year.

Commissioner Seth Mingus said he doesn't consider recycling an essential public service like roads or garbage pickup.

"It's nice that we can provide it when we can provide it. And I think it's beneficial to the citizens. It's beneficial to the environment," Mingus said. "But in the economic environment, or economic climate that we are in right now, I'm not sure that doing recycling is the most fiscally responsible thing that we can do."

Recycling toters can still be used as trash cans. The city will consider bringing recycling back next spring. Commissioner Dan Decker said he will also explore other potential recycling options in the meantime.

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