(415 ILCS 20/2)

(from Ch. 111 1/2, par. 7052)

Sec. 2.

Public Policy.

(a) The General Assembly finds:

(1) that current solid waste disposal practices are not adequate to address the needs of many metropolitan areas in Illinois;

(2) that the generation of solid waste is increasing while landfill capacity is decreasing;

(3) that siting of new landfills, transfer stations, incinerators, recycling facilities, or other solid waste management facilities and the expansion of existing facilities is very difficult due to the public concern and competition with other land uses for suitable sites;

(4) that more effective and efficient management of solid waste is needed in a manner that promotes economic development, protects the environment and public health and safety, and allows the most practical and beneficial use of the material and energy values of solid waste;

(5) that state government policy and programs should be developed to assist local governments and private industry in seeking solutions to solid waste management problems;

(6) that the purchase of products or supplies made from recycled materials by public agencies in the State will divert significant quantities of waste from landfills, reduce disposal costs and stimulate recycling markets, thereby encouraging the further use of recycled materials and educating the public about the utility and availability of such materials;

(7) that there are wastes for which combustion would not provide practical energy recovery or practical volume reduction, which cannot be reasonably recycled or reused and which have reduced environmental threat because they are non-putrescible, homogeneous and do not contain free liquids. Such wastes bear a real and substantial difference under the purposes of the Illinois Solid Waste Management Act from solid wastes for which combustion would provide practical energy recovery or practical volume reduction, which can be reasonably recycled or reused, or which are putrescible, non-homogeneous or contain free liquids;

(8) since it is the policy of the State as set forth in the Environmental Protection Act to assure that contaminants discharged into the atmosphere or waters of the State are given the degree of treatment or control necessary to prevent pollution, that wastes generated as a result of removing contaminants from the air, water or land bear a real and substantial difference from other wastes in that the generation of wastes containing pollution treatment residuals can improve the environment in Illinois and should be encouraged;

(9) since it is the policy of the State as set forth in the Environmental Protection Act to promote conservation of natural resources and minimize environmental damage by encouraging and effecting recycling and reuse of waste materials, that wastes from recycling, reclamation or reuse processes designed to remove contaminants so as to render such wastes reusable or wastes received at a landfill and recycled through an Agency permitted process bear a real and substantial difference from wastes not resulting from or subject to such recycling, reclamation, or reuse and that encouraging such recycling, reclamation or reuse furthers the purposes of the Illinois Solid Waste Management Act;

(10) that there are over 300 landfills in Illinois which are permitted to accept only demolition or construction debris or landscape waste, the vast majority of which accept less than 10,000 cubic yards per year. By themselves these wastes pose only a minimal hazard to the environment when landfilled in compliance with regulatory requirements in an Agency-permitted site without commingling with other wastes and, as such, landfills receiving only such wastes bear a real and substantial difference from landfills receiving wastes which are commingled. Disposal of these wastes in landfills permitted for municipal wastes uses up increasingly scarce capacity for garbage, general household and commercial waste. It is the policy of the State to encourage disposal of these wastes in separate landfills.

(b) It is the purpose of this Act to reduce reliance on land disposal of solid waste, to encourage and promote alternative means of managing solid waste, and to assist local governments with solid waste planning and management. In furtherance of those aims, while recognizing that landfills will continue to be necessary, this Act establishes the following waste management hierarchy, in descending order of preference, as State policy:

(1) volume reduction at the source;

(2) recycling and reuse;

(3) combustion with energy recovery;

(4) combustion for volume reduction;

(5) disposal in landfill facilities.

(Source: P.A. 85-1440.)