Recycling/Waste Management

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Recycling/Waste Management

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Solid waste is, as defined under RCRA (Resource conservation and Recovery Act), any solid, semi-solid, liquid, or contained gaseous materials discarded from industrial, commercial, mining, or agricultural operations, and from community activities.

Solid waste includes garbage, construction debris, commercial refuse, sludge from water supply or waste treatment plants, or air pollution control facilities, and other discarded materials.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) was enacted by Congress in 1976 and amended in 1984. The act’s primary goal is to protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal. In addition, RCRA calls for conservation of energy and natural resources, reduction in waste generated, and environmentally sound waste management practices.

Funding Opportunities

  • Illinois Recycling Grants Programs.

These programs are administered through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Energy and Recycling Division. Projects that demonstrate the public economic benefit of job creation and/or retention, especially projects within economically disadvantaged areas, and those providing work opportunities for physically and mentally disabled individuals are given extra consideration under this program.


  • Traditional Recycling Collections and Processing

Governmental organizations, for-profit businesses, and not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply to this program. The purpose of this program is to increase the self-sufficiency of Illinois’ recycling industry that create and/or retain employment opportunities, divert post-consumer recyclable commodities from Illinois landfills, and increase the quantity of materials recycled in Illinois. Applicants are eligible to receive $60,000-$120,000.


  • Computer and Electronic Recycling

DCEO is seeking applications from governmental organizations, for-profit businesses, and not-for-profit organizations for the purposes of diverting computers, cathode ray tube (CRT) devices and electronic equipment from Illinois landfills for reuse and recycling, increasing the quantity of materials recycled in Illinois and increasing the self-sufficiency of Illinois’ recycling industry. Applicants are eligible to receive $60,000-$75,000.


To Reduce…

Means consuming and throwing away less. It is known as waste prevention or source reduction. It actually prevents the generation of waste in the first place, so it is the most preferred method of waste management.

To Reuse…

Means to repair items, donate items to charity and community groups, or resell items.

To Recycle…

Means turning materials, which would otherwise become waste, into valuable resources.

Recycling FACTS

  • Americans dump 180 million tons of garbage annually, more than 40% is paper.
  • Every day American businesses generate enough paper to circle the Earth 20 times.
  • Plastic bottles take 450 years to decompose.
  • Paper takes 100 years to decompose.
  • Polystyrene cups and glass take 1 million years to decompose – so they don’t!
  • Aluminum cans decompose in 200-500 years.

Recycling BENEFITS

  • Recycling cell phones reduces greenhouse gas emissions, keeps valuable material out of landfills and incinerators, and conserves natural resources.
  • Source reduction (waste prevention) prevents emissions of many greenhouse gases, reduces pollutants, saves energy, conserves resources, and reduces the need for new landfills and combustors.
  • Recycling, including composting, diverted 82 million tons of material away from disposal in 2006, up from 15 million tons in 1980.

Further information can be obtained on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Website at