Illinois Suburb Tries To Lift Yard Waste Ban

Peoria, Ill. -- The city of Peoria is attempting to temporarily lift a landscape waste ban to allow for commingling of yard waste with household garbage.

The city spends $1 million per year collecting yard waste from 36,000 homes, and Peoria County consequently boasts a 37 percent recycling rate. But last year, the city council discovered that it could save an estimated $200,000 if the same garbage truck collected both yard waste and household trash and dumped it into the same cell at the Peoria City/County Landfill.

Proponents of the idea say that reintroducing landscape waste into traditional garbage could help the landfill work as a bioreactor, which would help the landfill's trash to decompose more rapidly.

But critics argue that commingling would reverse a decade of recycling and composting progress that the city has enjoyed. The real issue, they say, is to increase revenue for waste management companies through tipping fees.

The Peoria County Board, which jointly owns the landfills, voted against repealing the ban in mid-January. The City Council plans to revisit the issue as early as Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2002.