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[GreenYes] Peoria votes no to landfill proposal (Peoria Journal Star)
Peoria Journal Star
January 11, 2002

PEORIA VOTES NO TO LANDFILL PROPOSAL
TRASH, YARD WASTE WON'T MIX, FOR NOW

By Jennifer Davis

PEORIA - Environmentalists succeeded Thursday in nixing 
the Peoria County Board's support for adding yard waste to 
household trash in the City/County landfill, but even they 
agree the push for such a pilot project may not be dead.

The County Board voted 11-7 against the idea, but the city 
could still, on its own, pursue legislative approval for a 
five-year study into whether yard waste could actually help 
regular trash decompose faster in landfills.

Illinois, for the past 11 years, has kept the two separate and 
for good reason, says Peter Anderson, a Wisconsin-based 
consultant representing 12 national environmental groups 
including the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources 
Defense Council.

"There's no sound basis environmentally for this proposal," 
Anderson told the board.

Instead, he added later, mixing the two not only 
undermines recycling and composting efforts, it also 
"creates a toxic cauldron" that would produce more 
methane gas.

Supporters, however, believe it could save landfill space in 
the long run through faster decomposition.

City Council members Patrick Nichting and Jim Ardis, who 
both serve on the City/County landfill board and support 
the pilot idea, urged board members to wait and gather 
more information if needed rather than voting it down.

The County Board tabled the idea once before to gather 
more data. Another attempt Thursday to delay the vote 
failed.

City officials say this project could save them $200,000 or 
more in collection costs. Now, one type of truck collects 
trash; another collects yard waste.

Under the pilot program, residents wouldn't stop separating 
the two but only one truck would collect them. That way, if 
the project fails, residents wouldn't have to change their 
habits again.

"The city will save a lot of money (with this)," Luan 
Railsback of Peoria Environmental Action Committee for 
the Earth told the board. "But it's not really up to the county 
to fix the city's problems with its budget."

Several board members agreed with Railsback, saying they 
feared it would send the wrong message. Others said they 
voted against it because they needed more information.

Peoria County Board member Cheryl Budzinski, who also 
serves on the City/County landfill board, believes 
Thursday's vote was actually a case of too much 
information, much of it conflicting.

"It was hard (for them) to tell what was accurate," she said.

Besides Budzinski, six other Democrats supported seeking 
approval for the project, including: Jeff Joyce, Sharon 
Kennedy, Mike Mason, Mike Phelan, Junior Watkins and 
Dave Williams.

###

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