Belson's Steel Center

Belson's Steel Center located at State Route 50 and Larry Power Road.

The Kankakee County Board finalized its agreement Tuesday with Belson Steel Center to provide an e-waste recycling location for county residents.

The board unanimously approved the intergovernmental agreement with communities in the county that are served by the Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency (KRMA), which represents residents in Aroma Park, Bourbonnais, Bradley and Kankakee. The Village of Manteno is also part of the recycling program.

“It’s not up and running yet, but it’s going to be up and running very soon,” said Ben Wilson, county transportation manager. “… We’ll do an announcement.”

The county will pay Belson Steel Center $95,000 a year in the first two years of the agreement. For 2021, it has been prorated to $83,287 as of Feb. 15. For years 3 to 7 of the agreement, parties will utilize 2020 census data for participating municipalities to create a fee schedule amount based upon cost per resident.

“We’re shooting for March 1 to have a rollout,” Board Chairman Andy Wheeler said. “That will give us some time. I’m working on a brand name for this somehow to incorporate the unique nature of this regional partnership. And this what it really is, a regional partnership, with up to 17 municipalities and the county and KRMA and everybody together.”

Once the program is up and running, residents can take e-waste to Belson Steel Center at 1685 N. Illinois Route 50 in Bourbonnais and drop off the items from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

Residents will have to show proof of residency in one of the participating municipalities when dropping off the e-waste at Belson.

The board also approved a resolution, authorizing the board chairman to enter into IGAs with the 17 other municipalities in Kankakee County. So far, Chebanse has their own collection program and will not participate, and the Village of Limestone also opted out.

The municipalities can sign up for $1.39 per resident, per year. For example, a community of 1,000 residents would pay $1,390 to participate. Herscher will participate, and Wheeler said he is working on getting the dozen or so others to sign up as well.

“One of the benefits is environmental in terms, hopefully, it will dissipate some of the dumping in the rural areas as well, too,” board member Steve Hunter said. “Hopefully, that will have a positive impact on that situation.”

Other communities that can participate once an agreement has been signed are Bonfield, Buckingham, Cabary, Essex, Grant Park, Hopkins Park, Irwin, Limestone, Momence, Reddick, St. Anne, Sun River Terrace and Union Hill.

A resident from a community that opts out can still drop e-waste off at Belson, but a fee would apply.

“We’re hoping they go back to their village and say, ‘Why did I have to pay when no one else has to pay?,’” Wilson said. “Ideally, for our county, if everyone is involved in this, it makes the most sense for everyone. We’re trying to structure it to encourage those communities to participate. We think it’s a very reasonable cost on a per-user standpoint.”

Wilson said they’re hopeful by year three of the program, they can get the per-resident fee down to $1.

The following items will be accepted at Belson from eligible residents: computers and small servers, computer monitors, televisions, printers, fax machines and scanners, DVD players, recorders and VCRs, video game consoles, digital converter boxes, cable receivers, and satellite receivers, electronic keyboards, electronic mice and portable music players.

Also, some e-waste that residents drop off could earn additional money if it has some precious metal in it.

“There is that opportunity,” Wheeler said.

Associate Editor

Chris Breach is the Associate Editor of The Daily Journal and the editor of the business section. A graduate of Indiana University, Breach has more than 25 years experience in newspapers. He can be reached at cbreach@daily-journal.com.