Mundelein looks to increase recycling
Mundelein recently chose Groot Industries to remove waste and recycling for single-family homes and apartment buildings. Apartment building owners previously could choose their own vendor. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 29, 2012 8:48AM
MUNDELEIN — A plan to get recycling at all apartment buildings in Mundelein is receiving sharp opposition by building owners, for a variety of reasons.
In 2009, a Lake County task force decided that 60 percent of all materials collected by waste haulers should be recycled, up significantly from the 40 percent that was being recycled at the time.
The Mundelein Village Board accepted the challenge in January 2012 and is starting with multi-family buildings – which make up 25 percent of Mundelein’s households.
Three options were created: adopt an ordinance requiring owners to recycle; expand the current residential contract with Groot Industries to also include apartment buildings; or bid a separate contract.
Village officials held a Nov. 19 meeting with apartment owners to discuss the options.
John Lobaito, Mundelein village manager, told the group that no decision has been made and that he’s open to feedback and suggestions. He did say he prefers not to enact a mandatory ordinance.
Expanding the residential contract was Lobaito’s preferred choice. He said buying in bulk would help drive the cost down.
Most of the apartment complexes that recycle already use Groot, and a village study shows that 22 of the 43 complexes under that provider would see reduced rates.
Buildings with up to 50 rentable units would pay $11.50 per month, per unit. Buildings with 51 to 299 units would pay $9.50 per month, per unit. Any building with more than 300 units would pay $8.25 per unit, per month.
Owners who recycle with Groot and pay less would experience marginal increases every year until they reach the village’s negotiated price.
Jerry Haley, who owns one 46-unit apartment building in Mundelein, and Mel Withrow, who owns six buildings that combine for 85 units, prefer to choose providers and pay for the service themselves.
In the village’s projected pricing, Haley said a price-per-unit cost was not fair because different sized complexes have the same size recycling dumpsters, and all single-family houses pay the same for recycling no matter the square footage.
“Another factor nobody is considering is how our regular garbage would theoretically go down if everyone recycles more,” Haley said. “Are we going to change those rates?”
Getting tenants to use recycling was another challenge Haley discussed.
“This will take a year or two to get people on board,” Haley said. “Plus, we have a lot more turnover than in your neighborhoods.”
Another concern apartment owners shared was the lack of oversight on Groot, and how they believe all waste haulers put recycled materials into garbage landfills if too much is collected.
Charles Thompson, who owns 114 units between several buildings, said the big issue was neither money nor recycling.
“This is about my right to choose,” Thompson said. “This is about controlling property owners. While we represent a large number of units that Mundelein residents live in, we are the minority.”
Thompson said all three options the village is considering would force property owners to pay for recycling.
“The option to back out was not on that list,” Thompson said. “They at no point asked me if I would consider recycling. They asked ‘which of these three mandatory programs are you OK with?’”
Feedback from the owners will be reviewed at an upcoming recycling committee meeting.
Assistant Village Administrator Mike Flynn said the group will make a recommendation to the Village Board when they believe all angles have been covered. Flynn also said the committee could choose to recommend no action be taken on multifamily recycling.