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Waste Management Lake County recycling goes over 1 million tons of recyclables

In honor of America Recycles Day on November 15, Waste Management of Illinois is celebrating its employees and its Recycle America Lake County Processing Facility, which has been providing Lake County residents and businesses with recycling services for more than 14 years.

Waste Management is committed to expanding the amount of material it recycles, not only by building new facilities but by promoting participation across all the markets it serves in Illinois. By expanding participation, municipalities can increase the amount of materials they recover, making collection more efficient and supporting municipal sustainability programs.

The Recycle America Facility has processed more than 1 million tons of recyclables since it opened in 1997. Recovering this material saves both energy and resources; making products from recycled steel and tin, for example, uses just one quarter of the energy needed to produce goods from virgin materials.

In 2010, the plant, at 30869 N. Route 83, Grayslake, received approximately 85,000 tons of paper, 18,000 tons of glass, 5,900 tons of plastics, and 3,400 tons of metal containers.

The processing center is called a single-stream facility, meaning it accepts consumer-generated commingled recyclables placed in a single container. These materials include various grades of papers, including old newspaper and corrugated paper; glass; plastics; and steel and aluminum containers that are separated using automated systems.

The plant processes recyclable items collected from homes and businesses in the northern and western suburbs of Chicago. It has approximately 73 employees.

“As the nation’s largest recycling services provider, we’re always focused on how to improve recycling rates in our communities so that we can extract more value from the materials we throw out,” said Michael Tunney, Operations Director for the facility. “Recycling is easy, good for the environment and good for our local economy and we encourage residents in Lake County on America Recycles Day to make sure they’re recycling every day.”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, converting waste into valuable raw materials through recycling creates jobs, builds more competitive manufacturing industries, and adds significantly to the U.S. economy.

Waste Management currently operates some 100 recycling facilities and processes approximately 10 million tons of recyclables per year. The company is now halfway to its goal of managing more than 20 million tons each year. In 2010, Waste Management recycled, reused, or managed enough material to fill a football field 2.11 miles high.

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