It’s Time To Recycle Naperville’s Recycling Bins

Nine days remaining until Christmas day, which means in ten days the garbage and recycling trucks will be in high gear gathering everything we don’t want, including boxes, boxes, and more boxes. If you are into recycling, it could be the happiest day of your year.

It’s possible your recycling bin will be jam packed with stuff. All the recyclable stuff that doesn’t fit, can go into the garbage can, or sit along side your recycling bin. You can be sure it won’t be the recycling guy taking the stuff sitting outside of the bin, it will be the garbage guy. Hopefully the garbage truck drivers are earning more than the recycling guys.

The recycling truck guys must have a better union contract, because they will not get out of their trucks to pick up a perfectly beautiful cardboard box. It’s clean, empty, has no weight, but there it sits as the recycling guy drives by smiling.

One would think that the recycling companies would be making more of an effort to capture as much recycling stuff as possible, considering the recycling industry is tanking. The culprit is China. Yes, when all else fails blame it on the Chinese.

China has been the world leader for buying recyclables, but that pipeline is diminishing, due to China’s new anti-pollution program. Unless the recycling materials (plastic, metals, and paper) are 99.5% pure, China is not buying. That percentage exceeds the U.S. standard of 97% free of contamination (food, foam cups, etc). Since China is not buying, we are stuck with our own impure recyclables. Now rather than getting paid for recyclable material, we have to pay to get rid of it. That is not a long term good plan.

Even when recycling was ‘profitable’, the general population was not on board with the concept, with the National average of 35%. Naperville had the highest rate among Illinois largest cities, at 30%, but is was still well below the National average. If only those recycling-truck drivers would get out of their trucks and pickup a box here and there, Naperville could have exceeded the National average.

As it has turned out, maybe it’s just as good that the recycling guys drive by smiling without picking up big, beautiful, sturdy boxes sitting at curbside, because now we don’t have to pay to get rid of the stuff. The garbage guys can take it and fill up the landfills. Isn’t that what a landfill is for, to fill it.

If we want to save even more money, why not have the garbage guys pick up the recycling bins, and toss them into the landfill; bingo, another problem solved. Solving problems is not that difficult.

Show 3 Comments


  1. Joey

    Our recycling guy always goes the extra mile . No Complaints here!
    Still eating for our final leaf pick up

  2. Dick Page

    Don’t blame the recycling drivers. The company makes the rules. I had a driver who used to bring the bin up the driveway for me, which was very nice. Then an inspector from the company saw him do it and he got in trouble. It was against company policy.

    As for the recycling stuff—just clean any dirty containers before you put them in the bin. That would help.

    One more thing–do you think we don’t pay for putting stuff in the landfill?

  3. James Haselhorst

    Actually, the recycling drivers don’t get out of their trucks because by city guidance anything not in a recycling cart is not considered recycling, it is considered trash. For the truly conscientious recycler this is not a problem. If it won’t fit in the kart this week, just leave it aside and put it in the kart next week. It also helps if you take a few minutes to break down the boxes (you can ft quiet a few in a recycling kart if you break them down first).

    And China has always been an on again off again purchaser of recyclable goods (My uncle has been selling such goods to China, when he can, for around two decades now). The major reason most of the more toxic recyclables are not longer purchased by China is because US Shipping companies can no longer legally ship such goods to China (new laws prohibit shipping of most toxin containing recyclables to china because Chinese companies were not complying with international standards for processing such materials).

    The recycling kart save the city and resident a great deal of money since they allow resident to put as much as 300lbs in them (regular cans and bins are limited to 75lbs). By being able to put over 5 times as much in these karts it means much few cans at the curb and much quicker pickups.

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