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About Rethink Recycling

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In an effort to reduce the City’s recycling processing costs, Lake Forest has launched a two-year campaign to significantly decrease its recycling contamination. Planning began many months before the coronavirus outbreak, and with stay-at-home residents now disposing of far more than usual refuse and recyclable materials, the need for this campaign has taken on even greater importance. The goal for Rethink Recycling is to help Lake Forest residents better understand what should and should not be placed in their recycling carts. To aid the cause, a program spokesperson has been enlisted: Welcome Bart the Cart!

Hi everyone! It's so great to be part of Lake Forest's recycling program. My easy-to-follow recycling instructions found on this website and promotional materials throughout the City, will lead us on the path to recycling efficiency. Because if we improve our recycling habits, we can reduce Lake Forest's recycling processing costs by 25% per ton -- and that's a major revenue savings for the community. How cool is that!

Our Lake Forest commitment.

Letter from the Mayor

It’s time to rethink recycling in Lake Forest.


With most of us staying at home during the coronavirus outbreak, residential recycling materials are piling up like never before. So now more than ever, we need to make sure that what we’re recycling, is what we should be recycling.


Here’s why: By any standard, Lake Foresters are loyal and responsible recyclers. More than 90 percent of residents are active participants in our recycling program and that’s been a major plus for our community.


However, due in large part to lower demand from international markets, recycling processing costs have dramatically increased for communities throughout the country. Lake Forest's recycling program has gone from generating positive income of approximately $100,000 per year to now requiring a subsidy of approximately $250,000 per year. And with residential recycling demands increasing, that number is likely to grow.


As a result, we need to become more selective about exactly what we recycle. Quite simply, we have to make sure that what goes into our recycling carts belongs in our recycling the process is more clean and cost efficient.


The good news is that it doesn’t require much extra effort. This website provides you with some simple steps to becoming an even better Lake Forest recycler. If we all do it together, it will not only be good for the environment, it will save significant funds for our community.


Finally, I would like to acknowledge and thank our City’s recycling collection crews who continue to work during these uncertain times. They are an essential and dedicated group for sure.


Thank you all and happy recycling.


Yours truly,


George A. Pandaleon

Mayor, Lake Forest, Illinois

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