CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today launched a new effort to boost recycling in the James R. Thompson Center and the Michael A. Bilandic buildings, the state’s main office buildings in downtown Chicago. This 6-month pilot program aims to develop a cost-savings model for improved recycling in state facilities across Illinois.
“Recycling is the right thing to do both environmentally and economically,” Governor Blagojevich said. “Particularly in a time of great fiscal strain on our state and increasingly scarce natural resources, keeping more waste out of landfills by increasing how much waste we recycle, will reduce our waste disposal costs and help preserve our natural resources.”
The state hopes to reduce the volume of garbage that must be removed by waste haulers and maximize revenue by selling waste paper to recyclers. The state has contracted with Solid Waste Solutions, Corp., a nationally recognized waste and recycling consulting group based in Evanston, to improve management of garbage and recyclable material in the Thompson and Bilandic buildings.
"Many of the items that we dispose of daily could be recycled instead of going into landfills," said Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Renee Cipriano. "These efforts reinforce the IEPA's mission to protect our precious natural resources. Since Earth Day is celebrated in April, this is an excellent time to think more about your own recycling habits.”
Solid Waste Solutions will find opportunities to reduce waste and boost recycling, including training state employees to recycle more diligently.
“We think we can save the state 30 percent to 70 percent in waste disposal costs by diverting more recyclable material from the garbage and increasing operational efficiencies in state buildings,” said Peter Lobin, president of Solid Waste Solutions.
Solid Waste Solutions has a proven record of cutting waste disposal costs, including a more than 60 percent savings at the Cook County Building and a tripling of recycling volume at the Metcalfe Federal Building in Chicago.
“I expect that the state of Illinois will see similar benefits,” said Michael Rumman, director of the Department of Central Management Services, the state agency that manages state facilities. “If we do, we’ll take this pilot program statewide where the savings could be very significant.”