As a result of a survey of local businesses conducted by the Grayslake Chamber of Commerce and Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO), the village is considering the solicitation of bids for a commercial waste and recycling franchise that could produce a cost savings of 35 to 40 percent.
Currently, Grayslake businesses contract with five or six individual waste and recycling haulers, as opposed to residential waste hauling, which is done by Waste Management.
"This would make the business community similar or identical to the residents," said Mayor Rhett Taylor at the board's Dec. 18 committee-of-the-whole meeting of having a single waste hauler.
The idea behind the proposed initiative is to save businesses money (businesses would avoid special surcharge imposed by individual haulers) and scale back the number of trucks on the streets to lessen wear and tear and reduce greenhouse gases.
Multi-family apartment complexes are also included in the proposal.
During public comment, Lake County Board commissioner Pat Carey, a former Grayslake mayor and trustee, urged the village, which she acknowledged as being a leader in recycling efforts, to follow through with the initiative.
"Big things can be done with a commercial franchise," said Carey. "Ninety percent of businesses will save money."
Barbara Klipp, co-founder of Incinerator-Free Lake County, a grassroots effort made up of citizens who lobby for alternative waste-to-energy technologies, praised the village for considering the proposal but asked trustees to take it a step further. Klipp suggested the village seek to contract with smaller haulers who have a harder time competing with the big guys. She also wants to see haulers use alternative fuels and provide some educational materials for businesses.
"We are here to help you through the process," Walter Willis, executive director of SWALCO, adding it can be "a touchy subject with (the dominant) haulers."
Highland Park and Highwood has already been through the process. In Highland said Willis, "and every business saw a rate reduction."
The next steps for the village will be to hold a public hearing on the advisability of issuing an RFP (Request for Proposal) and notifying local waste haulers.