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Public participation can preserve recycling program

September 5, 2018

It’s great to get a second chance.

City of Kankakee residents were wondering what they would do with their recyclables come Labor Day weekend. The warning had been passed that Republic Services, the city’s contracted trash hauler, would stop curbside recycling at that time.

Instead, city residents would have had to bring their reusable items to a handful of recycling centers about town. No announcement had been made regarding where those centers would be or when they would be open.

But the Kankakee city administration reviewed the contract it had with Republic. The administration determined it would enforce the contract and its recycling provisions, which run through the end of 2020, or another two-plus years.

Good for Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong and the city administration. Good for the environment, too.

Recycling had been in jeopardy because Republic said residents were throwing too much junk in the recycling bins. Up to 85 percent of the stuff in the recycling bins, Republic said, was no good.

So here’s a second chance to get it right. Our guess is this problem runs on two levels. There are people who probably try to conscientiously recycle, but need to be more careful. Rinse out the jugs. Keep the papers dry.

But the larger problem likely involves folks just using the recycling bin as another trash can where lawn trimmings and even propane tanks land.

It seems like overkill to ticket folks for improper trash disposal. But a public service campaign could help.

A list of acceptable recycling items appeared in the latest Weekend Edition of the Daily Journal. Make some posters and mailings out of the list and distribute them widely, including at schools. Getting children involved can go a long way in solving this problem.

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