Bayside collected 550 tons of recyclables in 2010, the highest amount in the past seven years. That's 31.5 percent of all garbage picked up throughout the year Village Manager Andy Pederson said.
This 6 percent rise comes after constant changes in the Bayside recycling program, including the "single-stream process" introduced in 2009, making it much easier to be eco-friendly.
"You used to have to separate your papers from your plastics and things like that," said Alex Henderson, director of community and utility services. "So in 2009, we combined those in a single-stream process, so residents don't have to go through the process of separating them, which makes it much easier, and they'll recycle more."
After recycling by residents rose, the village made a few more changes. In May 2010, the 18-gallon recycling containers were swapped for 96-gallon, wheeled containers. The village also started to offer curbside pickup for recyclables.
Although being environmentally conscious is important to the village, it's not the only benefit from recycling.
"It's a twofold issue for us," says Pederson. "For one, it's environmentally friendly to recycle, but it also saves us money. When we throw things away, when we take things to the landfill, we pay to put things in the landfill. When you bring recyclables to a transfer station for recycling, you don't pay. You might actually get a bit of a return."
Pederson compared it to bringing soda cans to be recycled when he was younger, a good deed that left him with cash in hand. The same goes for the village, but on a much bigger scale.
Pederson said it costs $45 to $50 for each ton dumped into a landfill, a small amount that can really add up. For example, if the 550 tons of recycled garbage from 2010 was put into a landfill, the village would have had to pay almost $25,000 in fees.
According to Pederson, the money saved, and sometimes gained from recycling, is put into village programs, which helps reduce the tax levy.
Bayside has been recognized by the Business Journal on multiple occasions as the Green Community of the Year, and by the International City County Management Association as the Sustainable Community Under 10,000.
His future goal is, of all trash collected, to have 40 percent of that garbage equal what is recycled. Right now, the village is at 31.5 percent, but with a goal of 40 percent, that would come to a whopping 650 tons of recycled materials.
"We just need to continue to remind people what can be recycled," he said.