Illinois Electronics Recycling – New Technical Report

Are electronics being recycled in Illinois? A recent project conducted by Susan Monte of the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission conducted a survey based on that question. The results are published in technical report TR-059, titled “Illinois Electronics Products Recycling Survey.”


The survey project identified barriers to proper recycling/reuse of electronic products in Illinois counties, statewide. The recycling phone survey project was conducted December 2013 through
March 2014. Information was obtained from persons designated as county recycling coordinators, and from businesses, local governments, and agencies registered with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to collect, recycle/refurbish, or process electronic products collected in Illinois. Phone survey data was gathered regarding:

  • who’s doing what in Illinois counties with regard to electronics recycling;
  • who the designated recycling coordinator is for each Illinois county (and awareness of the
    current IEPA annual $2,000 grant opportunity); and
  • types of barriers to proper recycling/reuse of electronics which may exist in Illinois
    counties, with input from local government recycling coordinators, registered electronic
    items collectors and recyclers.

The report includes a description of the survey design and survey population, data collection methods, and results. Observations and highlights of the survey project results are  also provided in the report.

ISTC publishes Billion Gallon Water Challenge updates

As population increases, the demand for clean, fresh water will also rise, making existing supplies a very precious resource in Illinois and other parts of the US. ISTC seeks to help businesses, industries, communities, and the general public with water conservation measures such as:

  • Using water more efficiently
  • Reuse of water
  • Finding new ways to keep our water resources as clean as possible

ISTC has set a goal of conserving one billion gallons of water in Illinois. It is funding projects and conducting its own research along with other scientists, industry and other experts that will be looking for:

  • Improved treatment of wastewater
  • Reuse of process water in factories
  • Novel recycling methods
  • Other significant water-saving measures

To date, there have been three case studies published as a result of these efforts. They are:

For more information, visit the One Billion Gallon Water Challenge web site.

An Updated Look at PCBs in Illinois Published by University of Illinois Prairie Research Institute

The Prairie Research Institute has published An Updated Look at PCBs, a report stemming from the Sept. 17 scientific workshop on “PCBs and Their Impact in Illinois”.  The one-day workshop on the University of Illinois Chicago campus gathered leading authorities on the history and science about the persistent pollutant.


PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are a class of synthetic chemicals widely used in industry as a coolant and electrical insulator. The report, videos of panel presentations, and other useful information are available for viewing on the PCB workshop website.

PCBs are “Permabanned” from Clinton Landfill

Caution sign: PCBs - a toxic environmental contaminant requireing special handeling and disposal in accordance with the USEPA In the gaming world, a player caught cheating, using derogatory language, or other equally bad behavior will be “permabanned” or permanently banned from using the site where the bad behavior occurred. Well, that is exactly what the DeWitt count board did with PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and MGP (manufactured-gas-plant) wastes. On April 23, 2015, the DeWitt county board voted to approve a settlement agreement with the owners of Clinton Landfill (near Clinton, IL) that keeps PCBs and MGP wastes out of the landfill. This ends a 7-year dispute between the landfill owners and groups opposed to PCB disposal there. Two articles from The News-Gazette sum up the happenings before and after the board vote.


Before the ban on PCBs and MGP wastes in the landfill, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) hosted a one day workshop on “PCBs and their Impact in Illinois” to assess PCB disposal problems and solutions. Find out more about PCBs and watch the videos from the workshop.


In addition to the workshop, the Prairie Research Institute recently produced a document on PCBs titled, “An Updated Look at PCBs,” which contains a summary and recommendations about PCB disposal, a review of how PCBs are a persistent pollutant, and a literature review of remediation technologies for PCBs and manufactured-gas-plant wastes.

Paper Work Aimed At Preserving Forests, Climate

Craft beers are all the rage. Craft papers not so much. Fresh Press, an agri-fiber laboratory on the University of Illinois campus is pointing the way to turn agricultural waste, not into fuel, but into paper. Their formulations sound like up-scale beer brands: Northwinds Switchgrass Blonde, Double Cooked Soy Brown, Unleashed Mutt.


This clever fun has a serious message. We have an abundance of wild grasses, corn stover and other agricultural by-products, some of which end up in landfills. Paper from trees reduces an environmental resource.


At noon, Thursday, Oct. 3, Eric Benson, Associate Professor and Chair of Graphic Design at the U of I will discuss how Fresh Press brings together farmers, artists, designers, and academics to demonstrate a more sustainable paper industry. He will present “Fields of Gold, Deckles, and Moulds: Fresh Press and Agri-Fiber Papers” at Room 218 Mechanical Engineering Building.


The presentation will also be viewable as a webinar by registering at Benson’s appearance is part of the fall sustainability seminar series of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.