McHenry was the first county in Illinois to adopt a mandatory recycling program. Several towns in the county already had recycling programs or required residents to recycle, but this ordinance standardized everything for the county and applies to all residents in both towns and unincorporated areas.
The county passed the mandatory recycling ordinance in order to meet the state requirements, under the Illinois Solid Waste Planning and Recycling Act, that each county must adopt a recycling program designed to recycle 25% of its waste. In its solid waste plan, the County aims to exceed the state’s recycling goal.
All residents are required to separate designated recyclable materials and place in appropriate recycling containers. Materials include aluminum and steel cans, newspapers, cardboard, mixed paper, #1 plastic containers, and glass containers.
Apartment property owners/managers must:
In an apartment complex, the property owner is not liable for the residents’ use of the recycling program as long as the program has been properly set up and maintained.
Haulers must be licensed to pick up the recyclable materials and must report tonnages to the city.
Haulers are prohibited from picking up trash from residents that contains visibly mandated recyclable materials. This means the burden is on the hauler to make sure residents are participating. The city also takes complaints about who is not participating.
Residents will be issued up to two violation letters before being fined. Fines range from $25 to $100 per individual and $50 to $500 per licensed hauler that violates the ordinance.