Lake County using social media to spread the do's and don'ts of recycling

  • Lake County is hosting a Facebook Live session Friday to provide residents with some do's and don'ts for recycling.

    Lake County is hosting a Facebook Live session Friday to provide residents with some do's and don'ts for recycling. Courtesy of THE Solid Waste Agency of Lake County

  • Materials from recycling bins and containers are maneuvered into position to be processed at Waste Management's facility in Grayslake.

      Materials from recycling bins and containers are maneuvered into position to be processed at Waste Management's facility in Grayslake. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer, 2018

 
 
Updated 5/2/2019 5:57 PM

Lake County will be going live on social media Friday to educate residents about recycling with an emphasis on what not to toss in the curbside bin.

The livestream on the county's Facebook page beginning at 11 a.m. is part of a continuing local and statewide effort to explain the do's and don'ts of recycling. The session is interactive and intended to provide answers to common questions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's an event driven by resident participation," said Alex Carr, a county spokesman and co-host. "The more who participate, the more they'll get out of it."

The session is planned for 30 minutes, but the timing is flexible. As of early Thursday afternoon, 83 people said they would attend or were interested.

"It really depends on how many questions we get. It could last longer, and that's totally fine," Carr said.

Visit the page to participate or click "interested" to get a reminder. Participants can ask questions and learn about new guidelines, as well as how to recycle and reuse items that shouldn't go in your recycling bin, such as shoes, clothing and electronics.

According to the county, a recent audit showed that one of every four items placed in recycling bins is not recyclable through curbside programs. To help reduce contamination in the recycling stream, a statewide task force created new guidelines, which are listed on the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency website and elsewhere.

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Walter Willis, executive director of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County and co-chairman of the task force that includes the National Waste and Recycling Association and Solid Waste Association of North America, will discuss guidelines and answer questions Friday on the livestream.

"I'm going to focus on the 'no's'," he said. "We're trying to keep it simple."

Plastic bags, which can jam machinery and bring recycling sorting facilities to a halt, are at the top of the "no" list. The same goes for other "tanglers" like garden hoses or cords. Clothes, textiles and shoes also should be kept out, as there are other ways to recycle those.

While residents may think they are doing a good thing by putting recyclables in a plastic bag, the bag and its contents may be tossed in the trash, according to Willis.

"You've really got to keep it (recyclable items) loose because all of your hard work might go for naught," he said.

The point is that not everything can be recycled at the curb and there are nuances for each materials.

Willis said the task force is working to increase the level of detail on the IEPA's recycling website by the end of the year. For now, the mantra remains "When in doubt, throw it out or consult your waste hauler."

Willis said he also plans to discuss the solid waste management plan, which has to be updated every five years, as well as upcoming recycling and other events.

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