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McLean County Waste Generation and Recycling Rates Continue to Grow

Posted in news


For immediate release: July 6, 2023
Contact: Michael Brown, Ecology Action Center, 309-454-3169 x11

McLean County’s recycle rate continues to steadily increase. While the waste generated in McLean County in 2022 grew, the amount recycled grew even more to a total of 46.85%. The county is making progress towards its recycling rate goal of 50% set in the 20-year solid waste management plan. Although this goal has yet to be met, McLean County is well ahead of the 32.1% national recycling average.

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total MSW Recycled (tons) 88,459 94,804 88,330 76,487 82,205 97,643
Total MSW Landfilled (tons) 124,364 109,467 104,772 104,919 105,442 112,264
Total MW Generated (tons)  211,230 204,271 193,102 181,406 187,647 209,907
Recycling Rate 41.9% 46.4% 45.7% 42.16% 43.8% 46.85%

Contributors to the county’s recycling rate include successful recycling and waste diversion goals by large corporations and residential recycling accessibility. Some materials seeing significant increases can be attributed to growth of certain newer businesses in the area.

Along with curbside recycling offered in both Bloomington and Normal and some other smaller municipalities in the county, there are four community recycling drop off locations open to anyone and available 24 hours a day. These locations include; Heartland Community College, the Jewel Osco on Cottage, the Walmart on Greenbriar, and a relocation of the Chiddix Jr High drop off to the Crossroads Center in Bloomington coming in early July. The amount of single stream recycling collected in McLean County in 2022 rose by 14.7%.

Some areas that saw a decrease in recycling were organics, such as brush collected by the town and city, and tube fluorescent light bulbs. The large ice storm of 2021 caused a huge fluctuation in the amount of brush recycled due to downed trees and limbs during that year so as a result, the number has significantly decreased in 2022. The recycling of fluorescent bulbs decreased 34% in 2022 compared to 2021. This is likely due to the increased conversion to LED bulbs or failing to recycle.

The Ecology Action Center annually collects waste and recycling data to calculate the amount of municipal solid waste generated and recycled for all of McLean County as a lagging indicator of the impact of local recycling and outreach programs.  Among other services, the EAC acts as the solid waste agency for Bloomington, Normal, and McLean County and provides technical assistance, recycling promotion, household hazardous waste coordination, education and outreach.

Information on residential recycling, recycling of nontraditional materials, and information on disposal of household hazardous wastes is available by calling (309) 454-3169 or visiting ecologyactioncenter.org.