PEORIA — After a six-year absence, Peoria County may again hold an annual household hazardous material drop-off day for residents.
That's one of several things county officials plan to spend money on after a sooner-than-expected payment from Peoria Disposal Co. as that company prepares for the opening of a new landfill facility in the county in 2022.
Under the terms of the city's new garbage and recycling contract with PDC, the payment of $450,000 to each of the two governments with a share of oversight of the landfill was bumped forward from 2022 until this year.
County Board members discussed last week potential ways to use the funds.
The hazardous materials drop-off was near the top of the list, with the public safety committee unanimously voting to set aside $225,000 of the funds for household hazardous waste, electronics, tire and community cleanup events for the next three years.
The county hasn't held one since 2012 in the face of declining state funds to support operating them.
"This gets us the opportunity to get some of those people who call us and say, 'I'm cleaning out Mom's house,' or 'I'm cleaning out Grandma's house,' or 'I'm moving,'" county sustainability director Karen Raithel said.
When the new landfill opens, a facility on site will accept such household waste, reducing the need for countywide events to accept them, she said.
County officials also will be setting aside $150,000 of the funds in the event that they're needed for financial shortfalls at the landfill.
Of what remains, the committee supported spending $50,000 on internal county sustainability grants, designed to help spur additional government fund savings. They also agreed to put $15,000 into recycling grants.
"I've had a couple communities call and say they don't think they're big enough to do a curbside recycling program, but maybe it's a drop-off program (with larger bins at a site in a community)," Raithel said. "We can get them on that scale."
And the board is also likely to approve spending $10,000 on residential composting programs and a pilot food scrap composting program for businesses.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates indicate 20 percent of what goes into landfills is compostable food waste. Peoria County officials been working with Tazewell County officials on the business pilot program.
With more opportunities for drop-offs and recycling, "the goal is to have these programs and corresponding events to have dumping reduced," county administrator Scott Sorrel said in response to a question from the committee.
The full County Board will vote on the proposal at its June 14 meeting.
Chris Kaergard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 686-3255. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard.