Zero Waste

A series looking at zero waste in northern Illinois

One Person's Trash, Another County's Treasure

Oct 18, 2019
Sarah Jesmer


We’re talking about zero waste this week. And we spoke with some northern Illinois residents about finding more low waste choices. For some, it’s easier said than done.

Kim Valentine recently visited the Batavia Farmer's Market. She says waste reduction is a priority for her. She will even go out of her way to reduce waste. She isn’t deterred by the extra effort.

In Rural Illinois, It Takes Green To Go Green

Oct 16, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

Down the road from Ogle County’s Solid Waste office in Oregon is a can crusher. It looks like a top heavy white shed, a rectangle on top of a square.

You could bring your aluminum cans here and get 25 cents per pound for them. The operator, Dan Roos, said that’s if the computer that does the crushing ever gets fixed.

Fixing Mistakes And Addressing Inequality In Recycling

Oct 15, 2019
Claire Buchanan

You know that triangle symbol you see on plastic? That doesn’t mean it’s recyclable. That’s just the manufacturer telling you what kind of resin it’s made of.

Jennifer Jarland is the Recycling Program Coordinator for Kane County. She says when recycling plastic, “You gotta stick to the bottles, tubs, jugs and jars only.”

Jarland says a lot of people are already trying to reduce, reuse, and recycle, but sometimes they make mistakes.

We're exploring zero waste during Morning Edition and All Things Considered on WNIJ this week. Claire Buchanan and Sarah Jesmer have been reporting on this topic and Jesmer says zero waste is about addressing the idea of what the word "waste" means.

"Zero waste is the idea that you want to be better stewards of what you have, by turning waste into a commodity by reducing it or recycling it," Jesmer said.

Is "Zero Waste" Possible?