The latest numbers show curbside recycling in Kane County dropped a few percentage points last year compared to 2011.
But new efforts, and perhaps new green industry in the county, might spark both renewed interest in recycling and government profit in the near future.
About 43 percent of the county's curbside waste was recycled in 2011. A new report given to the county board's energy and environmental committee Thursday showed 40 percent of curbside waste was recycled last year.
That still meant 64,500 tons of paper and containers, as well as 17,500 tons of yard waste and organic material were kept out of landfills. County staff members estimated the 82,000 total tons of material would have been enough to fill nearly 55,000 garbage trucks.
On the flip side, 123,000 tons of Kane County waste did go to landfills.
County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland said she expects recycling numbers to improve this year. She's been working with municipalities to switch from the small blue recycling bins to the large recycling carts.
"On recycling day, the bins are just overflowing onto the streets," Jarland said. "If it can't fit, then it tends to go into the garbage."
Later this year, there may also be a chance for the county to turn recycling into a new income stream.
County board Chairman Chris Lauzen told the committee he is interested in forming a public/private partnership with companies that take advantage of emerging technologies that use virtually no combustion during the recycling process.
"I think that we can get a share of the income in big numbers, a couple million dollars a year, through just doing things that are recycling without combustion," Lauzen said.
Committee Chairman Kurt Kojzarek said there is an investment group that has recently made contact with the county involving a proposal that fits in line with the modern technology Lauzen mentioned.
The group, which was not named by the chairman, is meeting with county staff members to form a presentation for board members within the next few months, he said.