Recycling Tips: What Kane County Residents Can Do To Stop Litter

Recycling Tips: What Kane County Residents Can Do To Stop Litter

  • Editor’s Note: This article — part of a series of stories on litter in Kane County — is written by Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland. Got a question or idea for a recycling tip? Contact Jarland at 630-208-3841 or

I get more calls all the time from residents concerned about litter in their neighborhoods, on the roadsides, in the fields, everywhere really. And they ask me what is being done. This has inspired me to write another series.

As it has always been since the ’60s when it first became apparent that we had a litter problem, it is up to every individual to stop littering and it falls to conscientious citizens to clean up after those who continue to litter.

Where Does Litter Come From?

First and foremost the source is the prevalent and excessive packaging inherent to our throw-away consumerist society. It comes from the manufacturers who make the products that, in short order, become trash. Or if it escapes into the environment, it becomes litter.

Litter comes from individuals but also from accidental release of materials into the environment due to weather/wind but it also comes from other accidental sources like the escape of materials as they get tipped from bin to truck or perhaps as they are transported from the transfer stations to the landfills.

And while it may seem logical to blame the litterbugs or the waste haulers, we might look to ourselves. Again, where did the waste come from in the first place?

We stand between the retailers and the landfill. I return to my oft repeated mantra: Every one of us can make a difference by ReThinking, Reducing and Reusing. Do all of that first, before recycling or landfilling!

We can also make a difference by helping clean it up.

Clean Up Effort

I want to highlight an event that happened on Sunday, May 5, in Mill Creek. It was the second annual Mill Creek Clean-up, organized by community activist, Paula Weisserth.

With the help of more than 100 volunteers — Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and community members — the event resulted in 1,480 pounds of litter being removed from the natural open spaces, the golf course and the neighborhoods of Mill Creek.

The trash filled a 20-cubic-yard dumpster!

There was certainly a lot of plastic. Some of the larger and more surprising items found included a TV, loads of barbed wire, a broken arrow and a pitchfork. The most commonly found item was beer cans.

Keep your eye out for next year’s Mill Creek Clean Up event around Earth Day in April.

Read The Litter Series

There will be a couple more articles in this series on the history of litter and cleanup efforts and how to get involved and help clean up our environment.

Read More Recycling Tips!