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Town Of Normal To Consider Implementing Recycling Options

Baylee Steelman
Normal Councilman Scott Preston, left, voted against the 20-year solid waste plan Monday.

The Normal Town Council will likely consider an ordinance this spring requiring that apartment buildings provide the option to recycle.

The council voted Monday to endorse a 20-year solid waste management plan developed by the Ecology Action Center. The McLean County Board adopted the same plan last month.

City Manager Mark Peterson said most apartment complexes and businesses don’t have that option to recycle now, and a proposal to require the option is likely to come to the council in March or April.

"We'll have to work together to try to develop new strategies to promote recycling," Peterson said. "This council talked about potentially maybe some mandated recycling in order to try to achieve our goals and divert as much material as we can from the landfill."

The McLean County Landfill in rural Bloomington is expected to close within 30-60 days. Waste from the county will then be transported to the landfills in Pontiac or Clinton.

The multifamily-residence recycling ordinance would be in response to not just the new 20-year plan, but also to lobbying efforts by Illinois State University students who comprise most of Normal’s apartment population, said Mayor Chris Koos.

“We’ve had two or three years of discussions with the Student Government Association and the Off-Campus Student Association, and this is high on their list. It’s something they want,” Koos said Tuesday on GLT's Sound Ideas.

The recycling ordinance issue prompted one council member to vote against the plan Monday. The full council approved the plan over Scott Preston’s reservations.

"The language that suggested that ordinances would be recommended if certain goals are not met by voluntary means," Preston said. "As we look down the line there are a lot of things we have yet to figure out; a lot of numbers we don't yet know."

Preston said it really didn’t matter what was in the plan because such a decision is up to city councils and the county board. But he says it made him uncomfortable enough for him to vote against it.

Some Republican McLean County Board members made an attempt to take that language out of the plan the county adopted based on similar aversion to regulation. Preston is considering a run for McLean County Republican Party chair.

You can also listen to our full interview with Koos:

GLT's full interview with Mayor Koos on Sound Ideas.

Editor's note: GLT General Manager R.C. McBride is a member of the Normal Town Council.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.

Baylee Steelman joined us in November 2016. She is a journalism major graduating in May 2018. She mainly covers Bloomington City and Normal Town Council meetings, Unit 5 School Board meetings, produces the weekend News In Review, and helps run GLT events. Baylee also produces and anchors at TV-10, Illinois State University's student TV news station.
WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.