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Article updated: 2/18/2013 5:34 PM

Different takes on waste pickup, recycling for Grayslake businesses to be aired

By Mick Zawislak

The merits of having a single hauler pick up trash and recyclables from businesses in Grayslake is expected to generate debate Tuesday during a special meeting.

The village hosts the meeting to consider the issue at 6:30 p.m. at the village hall, 10 S. Seymour Ave. Supporters citing savings and opponents claiming it would lead to higher costs for businesses are expected to voice their opinions but no decision will be made.

Village officials are investigating whether to award a franchise for commercial pickup to a single waste hauling company at the request of the Grayslake Area Chamber of Commerce, which cited potential savings to businesses by going that route.

According to a notice on the village website, a franchise will be awarded only if, based on "competitive pricing", most businesses would save money. A chamber survey showed most businesses would save 35 percent to 40 percent on garbage and recycling by using a single hauler. The franchise would apply only for service to businesses, and rates to residents for trash and recycling pickups would not increase as a result, according to the village.

But the Illinois Chapter of the National Solid Wastes Management Association, which represents waste haulers and recyclers, opposes commercial franchises for communities and plans to have members speak at the Grayslake session.

According to Peggy Macenas, executive director for the association, the industry believes a "one-size fits all cookie-cutter approach" will be inefficient and lead to higher costs for businesses.

Macenas said many factors determine the price for waste collection and recycling for a business, including weight and volume, and business neighbors could have significantly different costs based on the type of waste they generate.

Competition among haulers would result in lower prices and better service, she added, because individual businesses can negotiate the best price for their specific needs.

The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, which has been assisting communities in reviewing commercial franchising, says commercial franchises in Highland Park and Highwood have been successful in reducing costs and increasing recycling.

The agency also disputes the haulers' argument regarding potentially higher costs for businesses and adds that SWALCO does not receive any money as a result of the commercial franchises.

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