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Coalition to Oppose Attacks on Recycling In America

January 10, 2002
Contact: Charlene Lemoine

Illinois Epa Opposes Repeal Of Ban On Landfilling Yard Waste

Springfield, IL - Charlene Lemoine, spokesperson for the Coalition to Oppose Attacks on Recycling in America, today released a letter from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency that refutes waste industry claims that the agency supports repeal of the State's 11-year old law banning landfilling of yard trimmings. That law, she stated, that has been integral to Illinois' recycling efforts, and its repeal would be devastating for the environment.

Waste Management and the City of Peoria are advocating that the law be repealed for a test in the local landfill. The City of Peoria's Public Works Director and a representative of Waste Management had met with the Illinois EPA to gain their support for the proposal and reported that they were "encouraged" by the agency to proceed.

Mr. Michael F. Nechvatal, Manager of the Land Pollution Division issued a letter on behalf of IEPA Director Cipriano to correct the gross mischaracterization of the agency's position that was released today by the Coalition.

In his letter dated December 19, 2001 and addressed to Mr. David Pittman, Mr. Nechvatal states:

"Our position of requiring compliance with this law [banning the landfilling of yard trimmings] has remained consistent for over a decade and continues today. We have encouraged any number of communities to provide landscape waste composting and have permitted a number of large-scale compost sites around the state. Also, we encourage home composting, mulching mowers or application at agronomic rates. Landscape waste composting accounts for a significant portion of the measurable recycled municipal waste.

"In response to a request from local governments, another Bureau of Land manager and I met with them, a representative of the Illinois Municipal League, an engineering consultant and a Waste Management representative. This meeting provided an opportunity for them to talk to us about their opinions on the merits of placing landscape waste into certain types of landfills. This cannot be approved by this agency without a change in existing law. We could not have been clearer that the Bureau of Land attendees would not recommend a policy change by the Illinois EPA to support legislation altering the ban on landfilling landscape waste." (emphasis added)

Lemoine corrected another similar misrepresentation of the IEPA's position in the January 9, 2002 Peoria Journal-Star. The Journal-Star editorial claimed that an IEPA staff member had stated that the Peoria Landfill was a so-called bioreactor. A bioreactor is one in which liquids are added in order to accelerate decomposition. The editorial had gone on to claim that the official had said that, as a bioreactor, it would be an appropriate place to test whether the addition of yard trimmings.accelerates decomposition. In fact, Lemoine noted, Ms. Joyce Munie never referred to the Peoria landfill as bioreactor, but rather she clearly recognizes that the facility is not licensed to operate as, nor is it now nor has it ever been, a bioreactor. These facts are on file with the landfill permit, she said.

Lemoine expressed deep concern that the IEPA's position has been misrepresented by waste officials, and stated that he hoped that the Peoria County Board would not act on this matter on whether to join the City in requesting a repeal of the existing law based upon information which is directly contrary to the facts.

PEACE and Peoria Area Greens, local organizations that are members of the Coalition, will be available for further comment at the Peoria Landfill on Thursday, January 10th at 2:00 pm as part of the tour being given by the City.

The Coalition to Oppose Attacks on Recycling in America is an alliance of 12 national, regional and local groups organized by the Grassroots Recycling Network (


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