Would Recycling Center Be Harmless Or Harmful?
After citizens defeated Lakeshore Waste's proposal to site a garbage station in Morton Grove near Skokie's Niles West HS, Lakeshore proposed a recycling center. A citizens' group said it doesn't want one in Morton Grove; Lakeshore counters they are clean
A Morton Grove citizens' group does not want a Lakeshore Waste Services recycling center near residents' homes near Austin and Oakton, a leader of the group said Tuesday.
Members of the group, which formed this summer to oppose the possibility of Lakeshore Waste Services placing a waste transfer station on its property at 6132 W. Oakton, Morton Grove, toured recycling and/or garbage facilities in Glenview, Northbrook and Mount Prospect.
However, Josh Connell, president of Lakeshore Waste, said that two of the three facilities the group visited are not the type Lakeshore would build in Morton Grove. The recycling center it plans would process clean materials and be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, he said.
Citizens' group unhappy with what members saw
The citizens' group members said that after touring the three facilities, they concluded a recycling center would not be much better than a waste transfer station.
"It's a form of garbage--just not as raw. We have the same concerns with a recycling center as we did with the garbage transfer station," said Tom Maddex, who lives near the proposed facility, as do other members of the citizens' group, Citizens to Stop Morton Grove Garbage Transfer Station.
Morton Grove Mayor Dan Staackmann said he intends to meet with the group soon and wants to hear their concerns.
Connell stated the citizens' group's conclusion about garbage is not the case.
"There is no garbage allowed in a recycling facility," he said. "Per the EPA, we wouldn't have garbage being sorted. We might have piles of material being sorted, but it would be clean material. There would be no raw material that would be food for rodents.
"There might be drywall and wood, but no raw food or garbage."
Lakeshore first proposed idea last spring
The citizens' group's statement opposing a recyling center is the latest in a chain of events which has stretched out since about May, when Lakeshore floated the idea of a waste transfer station.
The group was pleased in September when Lakeshore Waste Services said it would not locate a waste transfer station on its property there. That followed weeks of residents' intense opposition to the idea of a waste transfer station at the site.
Touring three facilities
Maddex and Chris Bellina, who both live on Cleveland Street, recently toured three facilities:
- The Arc Disposal facility in Mount Prospect, which Maddex said handles both solid waste and recycling materials.
- A Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) solid waste transfer station in Glenview near River Road and north of Central.
- C&D Recycling in Northbrook, which recycles construction materials from builders anda contractors.
After seeing trucks deposit recycled materials on the floor of the Mount Prospect facility, Maddex said, "It was clear to us that recycling material, when collected at curbs, is really no different than garbage."
"It's not as smelly as solid waste, but you have no control over what people put in the recycling bins," he said, adding that cans or bottles could have food remaining in them.
Concerns about rodents, truck traffic
Maddex and Bellina talked to a man who worked at a business near the Mount Prospect facility, and he said they tried to be good neighbors, but that residents two blocks away complained about rats, Maddex said.
The Northbrook facility, which handles only construction materials, received complaints about truck traffic and had to re-route trucks, he said.
Connell said that of the three sites the group visited, only the Northbrook site, which handles the construction materials, would be similar to the possible Lakeshore recycling facility. As for the group's concern about truck traffic, Connell responded that the facility already has about 60 to 70 trucks a day going in and out, without any concerns from residents.
He pointed out, though, that the facility is located in a heavy industrial area, with trucks going in and out all the time.
Of the businesses in the area, 14 produce or use hazardous materials, which Lakeshore would not do, Connell said, and he noted that one business near Niles West's football field billows smoke.
Also, two neighboring businesses are food processors, a type of business which he said is likely to attract rodents.
Thinking of property values
The citizens' group supports recycling, but doesn't want the facility so close to their homes and to Niles West High School, Maddex said. They're concerned it might bring rodents, noise and truck traffic, and Maddex also said his research found that fires sometimes occur at the facilities.
"We're concerned about our property values and the marketability of our homes," he said.
He added that the other facilities were all more buffered from residential areas.
Mayor: concerned about impact on community
Staackmann said he hopes to meet with the citizens' group this week.
"The village is in the process of assembling information and setting up a meeting with them," he said. "I and the village board share the same concerns they may have, (such as) how will this impact our community. Hopefully everything will work out to the benefit of all."
He emphasized that Lakeshore Waste has not made an application, or even a formal inquiry, about siting a recycling center on the property.