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Elmhurst slated to add more disposal options with new refuse, recycling contract

ELMHURST – Elmhurst residents may soon have new options for waste disposal through the proposed 2018 to 2023 refuse and recycling services contract.

In a 12-1 approval of the Public Works and Buildings Committee report, the Elmhurst City Council has asked the city attorney to draw up paperwork for aldermen to approve a new contract with current vendor Allied Waste of Melrose Park/Republic.

The proposed new contract would include 35-, 65- and 95-gallon toter options, organic waste collection, optional back door refuse collection and optional programs for electronic and household hazardous waste collection, according to the report.

Alderman Michael Bram, who is on the Public Works and Buildings Committee, voted against approval of the report and said he pulled the report out of the consent agenda because of his concern over the relative cost for residents for the various sizes of the toters.

According to a vendor proposal chart, the flat monthly charge for collection for a 35-gallon wheeled refuse cart with recycling toter is $15.05, or $0.43 per gallon, while the monthly charge for a 95-gallon toter is $20.84, or roughly $0.22 per gallon.

"You're picking up waste no matter what the size of the toter is. But it shouldn't cost you twice as much per gallon for a smaller toter when you're doing your piece to keep things out of the landfill," Bram said.

Alderman Danee Polomsky said the cost for the toters also includes the consideration of the cost to administer the program and the chance a toter might dump over and require cleanup.

"The greatest influence that the city can have on encouraging residents to produce less waste is to provide unlimited recycling, which is something we do. And I would think that composting, provided we can incorporate that, would encourage that further," she said.

She added the bids that companies produce are what the city is working with.

Alderman Marti Deuter, who is on the Public Works and Buildings Committee, said she also was surprised the 35-gallon toter was not "a whole lot less" expensive than the 65-gallon toter. However, she said even though her family often doesn't fill the 65-gallon toter it currently uses, members would likely still have the same amount to throw out if they switched to a 35-gallon toter.

"I think it's probably a bit of a stretch to think just because you have a smaller toter it means you're generating less waste," Deuter said.

The organic waste monthly cost and the back door service, both of which would be billed directly to the homeowner, would be $17.50 and $25, respectively, according to the vendor proposal chart. The new contract would begin April 1, and the new 35-gallon toter and the food scrap composting program should begin shortly after that, according to the report.

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