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updated: 12/18/2017 12:11 PM

Funding cap could cut hours for Naperville electronics recycling

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  • Hours of operation at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility in Naperville could be cut next year as the city and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency look to negotiate a long-term deal for handling the cost of recycling.

    Hours of operation at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility in Naperville could be cut next year as the city and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency look to negotiate a long-term deal for handling the cost of recycling.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

The Household Hazardous Waste collection facility in Naperville is likely to be open fewer hours next year as the city and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency figure out how to pay for it.

The two sides are poised to begin negotiations over the cost of hauling and recycling all of the unwanted items and hazardous substances dropped off at the facility built specifically for that purpose.

Because of fluctuating costs in electronics recycling, the state EPA is looking to establish a cap on the amount it will pay each year to collect and handle recyclables, spokeswoman Kim Biggs said.

The cap for the next six months at the Naperville facility has been set at $250,000.

Mayor Steve Chirico said the cap is less than half of the $516,000 in recycling costs the facility typically incurs each year. So to make sure the cap isn't exceeded before the end of June 2018, the city could cut hours or decrease services offered at the building billed as a one-stop drop-off site for a wide range of electronics and household chemicals.

The $1.2 million facility at 156 Fort Hill Drive opened in February 2015 after it was built using a $900,000 grant from the state.

As one of only four such sites across Illinois that accept things such as electronics, oil, gas, antifreeze, asbestos, batteries, fire extinguishers, household cleaners, oil-based paints, stains, fertilizers and thermostats, the facility's weekend hours often are busy with drivers discarding items.

The facility is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, excluding holidays, so it will be closed Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, Dec. 24 and 31.

The facility helps residents follow a state law that banned electronics from landfills effective in 2012.

"They're under budget pressure," Chirico said about the state EPA. "But this is their request, their mandate."

Chirico said he is concerned the state's funding cap could lead to restricted hours and fewer opportunities to properly discard potentially harmful items.

Biggs said the EPA needs to impose a cap in order to properly budget to offer one-day hazardous waste collection events throughout the state.

The EPA isn't the only funding source for the facility. The cities of Naperville and Aurora, as well as DuPage and Will counties, also chip in. But funding from the cities and counties goes toward capital and operational costs, not the recycling itself.

As the negotiating period begins, both sides say they hope they can work out a long-term deal that will continue to support electronics recycling and hazardous waste disposal at the two-year-old facility.

The Naperville City Council is set to discuss the cap during a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the municipal center at 400 S. Eagle St.

"If nothing works out," Chirico said, "we'll probably have a closed facility."