Waste management refers to both waste that is sent to a landfill and waste that is recycled or re-used. Habitat destruction, global warming, and resource depletion are some of the effects of our materials consumption.
Organic waste and food discards and residuals that decompose in landfills release methane, a GHG that is at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This fact makes food wasting a significant contributor to solid waste GHG emissions.
Recycling - converting discarded materials into new materials or putting them to beneficial use (which can include organic waste) - is an important approach in mitigating these impacts and reducing the pollution caused by wasting.
Waste Management Strategies
Below are the specific Waste Management goals outlined in the 2022 Environmental Sustainability Plan. Clicking on one of them will display the list of actions to be incorporated into the Village's workplans. They are broken down into completed, in-progress, ongoing and future. Progress is updated quarterly.
- Decrease landfill waste by 10% by 2030 (for Village-collected solid waste of single-family housholds up to 4-flats).
- Reduce solid waste collection frequency to once weekly for single-family households.
- Educate residents, businesses, and institutions on waste reduction, proper recycling, and organics options in support of the Waste Management goals of this plan.
- Coordinate with public partners to establish paths towards Zero Waste program ("Zero Waste" as defined by the US Conference of Mayors). Program to provide outreach to support recycling provided and promoted in all schools, public housing, park district facilities, public space, and Village buildings. Program to also include zero waste curricula and communications content as well as zero waste strategies for school facilities.
- Establish a Zero Single Use Plastic, Zero Waste policy for Village operations that outlines increasing incremental annual waste reduction goals charting a path to Zero Waste appropriate to the findings of the Municipal Operations Waste Audit.
- Conduct a Municipal Operations Waste Audit to understand waste characterizations and volumes and to identify potentials and strategies for municipal operations waste reduction and diversion.
- Collaborate with county, state, and other regional waste audit and diversion service providers to develop and fund a waste audit and diversion assistance program for businesses. Program to support businesses in establishing, tracking, and reporting waste streams, identifying reduction, diversion, beneficial use opportunities, identification of potential financing sources, and connect businesses with energy audit and other resources in support of full Sustainability Plan goals. Goal: 30 business waste audits completed annually with businesses engaged in measuring and diverting waste.
- Incentivize businesses to phase out single-use products or implement an opt-in fee for such products. Encourage restaurants to allow customers to bring their own take-out containers. Recognize businesses implementing these practices on Village of Skokie website.
- Explore options to decrease plastic bag/film use and to increase plastic bag/film recycling.
- Increase the number of commercial properties and condos that recycle and use organics collection through incentives and mandates.
- Require all new commercial and multi-family construction to provide recycling and composting services.
- Based on information collected through the Village's on-going research and community outreach, identify financial and other barriers to recycling and composting in multi-family buildings (e.g., different priorities between property management company and tenants, lack of knowledge of costs).
- Land-Use Code Updates - improve commercial and multi-family recycling requirements by revising Land Use Code to require commercial indoor and outdoor space for recycling and organics collection equal to or greater than the space provided for disposal.
- Establish a webpage or online pamphlet that can be used by landlords to help residents know about park locations, bike/walk/transit info, sustainability goals and resources, trash and recycling opportunities, renewable energy options, incentives, etc. Website links can be distributed as a part of the Neighborhood Integrity Ordinance licensing program in addition to other avenues.
- Increase organics diversion rate for single-family households up to 4-flats from 2.4% of total solid waste handled to 8% by 2030.
- Conduct outreach to grocers, restaurants, and food pantries to understand current practices in handling expiring perishable items. Use outreach to identify challenges to and opportunities for reduced landfilling of food waste and increased donation.
- Based on outreach, establish a program to increase diversion of viable food currently entering waste stream to food pantries, non-profits, and other pathways serving food insecure community members. When not edible, organic waste shall be composted through a Village-approved vendor. Program may include incentives, information, promotion, support such as "zero-waste coaches," requirements, and/or business recognition awards.
- Contact local and regional partners, including Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) and private contractors, to research ways to provide convenient and cost-effective composting services.
- Increase residential participation in Village's food scrap compost collection and provide information on the value and methods for composting. Goal: increase participation by 5% annually through 2030.
- Increase availability of composting options for residents and businesses such as expanded curbside organics collection, offering low-cost or free compost bins for back-yard composting, workplace composting, free municipal drop-off locations, and organics-to-compost partnerships with community gardens. Include a focus on options which support local gardening and food production.
- Research the feasibility of waste audits for multi-family residences and commercial properties to provide better Skokie-specific milestone data.
- Increase landfill diversion of recyclable materials 10% by 2030 while decreasing contamination of recycling collection s(for Village-collected solid waste of single-family households up to 4-flats).
- Establish an award program for businesses, schools, and other non-residential properties to recognize recycling leaders.
- Research options and advocate collection of Styrofoam blocks for pelletization (reuse) and/or extrusion (recycling or disposal).
- Create a comprehensive communication campaign to provide standardized information, educational communications, and action items on waste reduction, organics collection, recycling, and hazardous waste handling to reach the commercial and residential sectors. Include updates on waste diversion programs available to residents and businesses.
- Incentivize increased use of reusable food and beverage packaging, maximized recycling/composting of food packaging and minimized landfill trash generation among community businesses. Require that Village-hosted events and users of certain Village facilities follow these practices.
- Increase diversion of potential recoverables, hazardous waste, and construction and demolition waste 25% by 2030.
- Collaborate with local partners including SWANCC and commercial providers to identify and promote hazardous waste disposal opportunities closer to Skokie. Include a focus on disposal options for challenging hazardous liquids such as non-cooking oils, poisons, and fertilizers.
- Reduce construction and demolition waste by ensuring that strong recycling and reuse requirements are met for all building-related permits community-wide. Require compliance with Cook County's construction and demolition requirements including waste management plans; provide support resources such as a copy of the ordinance and requirements with Village permit materials. Partner with Habitat, reuse warehouses and county facilities to promote reuse options.
- Develop an informational sheet for permit holders outlining Cook County requirements and resources for disposal.
- Investigate potential cooking oil recycling opportunities and list commercial vendors on Village website.