Evanston residents are putting less into their recycling carts and more into their garbage carts these days, City Council members learned at the Jan. 9 City Council meeting. The matter came before aldermen at the Administration and Public Works Committee, one of the two meetings held before regular City Council meetings.

Each year the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) sets a per-ton “tipping fee” for the City, based upon the amount of solid waste transferred in the previous year from the Evanston community to SWANCC’s Glenview station. This year’s fee, $59,700 per month, is 1.5% higher than last year’s, because the City sent more garbage to SWANCC, said City Public Works Director Dave Stoneback.

The City contracts with Groot for residential refuse pickups. “So the Groot driver is driving Evanston garbage to Glenview in the Groot garbage trucks,” said Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward.

“Do we keep track on a monthly basis?” asked Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward. Hearing an affirmative reply, Ald. Braithwaite then asked, “If you get monthly updates, when did you realize we were over [the estimated amount of waste]?”

“We have known this for a year and a half,” said City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz.

“People are not putting things into recycling,” said Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward. “Maybe we need to put efforts into recycling education.”

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, said she has received many complaints about Groot, many about missed pickups. Mr. Stoneback said the contract with Groot expires in a few months, and the City will send out requests for proposals to solicit another company to pick up refuse.

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...