During the deliberations for the FY 2010-11 Budget of the City of Evanston, many steps were taken to fill the $9 million gap. The City decided to permanently shut down the Evanston Recycling Center. The decision has not yet received any protest.

According to City staff, the recommendation to close the Recycling Center was presented at a Special City Council Meeting held on Thursday, March 11, 2010, with the only listed agenda item being “Revisions to the Street Sweeping Program.” The minutes of this meeting do not reflect any discussion of the Recycling Center. (The agenda and minutes may be downloaded from the City’s website at: http://www.cityofevanston.org/government/agendas-minutes.)

Efforts to locate a specific documented mention of the Recycling Center closing were unsuccessful. However, a line item under Public Works in the City’s 2010-11 Budget Reduction Worksheet, listed “Solid Waste Reform” in the amount of $560,000 for final adjustments.

The official statement from the City of Evanston is that, “the Evanston City Council, as part of the adopted budget this year, decided to close its Recycling Center located at 2222 Oakton St. effective August 1, 2010, thus saving taxpayers nearly $100,000 yearly.”

Public Works Director Suzette Robinson noted that, “The City conducted two surveys of people using the Recycling Center and found that over half of the users were not from Evanston. In our proposal to Council, we recommended that the City adopt a comprehensive curbside recycling program that would cover all residential, multi-family dwellings and businesses.”

Multi-family dwellings are now required to make available to tenants at least one free 95-gallon cart provided by Groot Industries Inc. (800-244-1977) as a part of the commercial solid-waste franchise agreement. All multi-family dwellings will receive the 95-gallon recycling cart by August 1, 2010. In addition, Evanston-based businesses will now be provided a free 95-gallon cart that they must request from Groot.

Ms. Robinson added, “All entities (residential home owners, condo owners, multifamily buildings and businesses in the franchise) within Evanston will have a weekly curbside recycling collection option eliminating the need to operate a recycling drop-off center at the expense of Evanston taxpayers. Essentially, we will no longer subsidize non-Evanston residents (and businesses).”

The Recycling Center opened in March 1992 as a processing plant for materials collected in the curbside recycling program. The processing plant was shut down in 1999, but the recycling drop-off area of the facility remained open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Efforts to obtain a comment from Anne Rainey, 8th Ward alderman, in whose ward the recycling facility is located, were unsuccessful.