Photo by Frank Prager
Joell Aguirre, manager of municipal services for Republic Services, gives a presentation on the company’s recyclables processing and answers questions from residents at a Glen Carbon Residents Advisory Board meeting.
GLEN CARBON — A representative from Republic Services recently took time to address Glen Carbon residents about a change to their recycling pickup process.
A new automated trash hauling process was implemented May 1 by Republic Services, the village’s waste disposal and trash pickup service, and the Residents Advisory Board of Glen Carbon hosted Joell Aguirre, manager of municipal services for Republic Services, for a presentation on the new process. More than a dozen residents attended the Thursday, July 21, presentation in the Public Safety Community Room of the Glen Carbon Police Department building.
Committee chairman Luke Harris opened the meeting by outlining advances in the recyclables processing industry over the past five years. He also spoke about the improvements in safety, cost effectiveness and cleanliness provided by the new automated systems.
During her presentation, Aguirre noted Republic Services’ philosophy that recycling is the right thing to do for both municipalities and for the country. She explained how recyclables processing is much different than it was in the 1990s in that materials no longer need to be sorted by customers.
People can put all of their recyclable materials into a single container that’s picked up by automated lifts on the trash disposal truck. The materials do not go into a landfill but are delivered to a local recycling pad and hauled to a materials recovery facility at Republic Services’ Hazelwood, Mo., location.
Equipment at the recovery facility, such as optical sorters and magnetic devices, is able to automate the process of sorting the materials into groups, which are used to make clothing, building materials and aluminum cans. A short video was shown on the recycling process. It noted how recycling plays a critical role in a sustainable future, and Aguirre offered to schedule a tour of the recovery facility for interested residents.
She provided a handout outlining allowable recyclable materials as well as those which cannot be recycled such as Styrofoam, plastic bags, food products, Tyvek envelopes, snack bags, candy bar wrappers and three-ring binders. Aguirre explained how cameras on the trucks allow drivers to monitor what’s being collected so they can communicate to “pickers” at the recyclable pad when loads are contaminated. Unacceptable materials can then be ferreted out.
Aguirre fielded questions from residents about the process and where materials such as fluorescent lights and vacuum tube electronics not accepted by the trash hauling service can be taken for disposal. One resident explained they had taken some of their recyclables to other collection spots sponsored by schools and businesses in the community and asked if that was the wrong thing to do.
“As long as you’re recycling, you’re doing the right thing,” Aguirre said.
Several residents expressed concerns about recyclables only being picked up every other week and their containers lacking space for two weeks’ accumulation. Village Administrator Jamie Bowden explained there are 48-, 65- and 95-gallon recyclable containers available, and additional containers are available at no extra pickup charge.
Other participants commented about issues related to containers residents leave on the side of the street during the week. Bowden explained the allowable period for containers to be street-side was 24 hours before and after the pickup time and that residents could contact him directly about chronic issues.
The advisory board is a forum through which residents can provide direct feedback to the municipal government as well as get information on topics of interest or concern to the community.
For information, visit glen-carbon.il.us.