On January 15, 2014, the Cook County Board approved a Solid Waste and Recycling Ordinance (SWRO), which gives the county new authority to prosecute illegal dumping activities; outlines minimum operating requirements, fees, and reporting requirements for solid waste recycling facilities; and creates reporting requirements for waste and recycling haulers. The goal of this ordinance is to assist the county in recycling, reuse, and waste diversion planning.

Requirements for solid waste facilities are outlined under Article VII, Division 3 of the Cook County Municipal Code. Under this ordinance, solid waste facilities must comply with operational requirements related to facility cleaning; noise, odor, and dust minimization; safety and security; and waste screening. A Cook County permit is required for solid waste facilities which accept clean construction or demolition debris, but is not required for other solid waste facilities. However, each facility permitted by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to dispose of solid waste must file quarterly reports and pay an operating fee to the county. Reports can be completed using a form available on the Cook County website. Fees are assessed on a per ton basis, and are to be paid quarterly at the time each quarterly report is submitted. A late fee may apply if the quarterly report and associated fee are not submitted by the applicable deadline. The initial quarterly report and fee, covering the period from July 1, 2014 through September 30, 2014, was due by October 31, 2014. Subsequent reports and fees should be submitted according to the following schedule:

  • January 1st through March 31st; due April 30th;
  • April 1st through June 30th; due July 31st;
  • July 1st through September 30th; due October 31st;
  • October 1st through December 31st; due January 31st.

Requirements for recycling facilities are outlined under Article VII, Division 4 of the Cook County Municipal Code. Under this ordinance, recycling facilities must comply with operational requirements similar to those outlined above for solid waste facilities. Furthermore, as of June 1, 2014, all recycling facilities must operate under a Cook County recycling permit. An application form is available on the Cook County website, and a fee based on the type of recycling facility (e.g. Class I, Class II, etc.) is associated with permitting. Recycling permits expire on June 1st of each year, and should be renewed at least 45 days prior to expiration.

In addition to the requirement to obtain a permit, recycling facilities must submit semiannual reports to Cook County. Reports covering the period from January 1st through June 30th are due no later than August 31st, and reports covering the period from July 1st through December 31st must be submitted prior to February 28th of the following year. A semiannual reporting form is also available on the Cook County website, and includes information such as the total weight of all materials collected during the reporting period, and the weight of all materials recycled. The first semiannual report for all subject facilities is due February 28, 2015.

Additional information regarding the SWRO, as well as applicable forms and fee tables, can be found on the Cook County website