Member Spotlight


Founded in 1972, The Conservation Foundation is one of the region’s oldest and largest not-for-profit land and watershed conservation organizations dedicated to preserving and restoring open space, protecting rivers and watersheds and promoting stewardship of the environment in northeastern Illinois.

The work of the Foundation is focused in DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will Counties but they have worked on significant projects in Cook, DeKalb, Grundy and LaSalle Counties. Simply put, they save land and they save rivers, and they’ve been at it for more than 50 years. They preach waste reduction through reduced salt use and proper collection of pet waste and proper recycling of fishing line using a variety of educational outreach efforts designed to protect surface and groundwater. They do outreach on backyard composting, native planting, adding rain gardens, bio-swales and utilization of rain barrels to reduce potable water use.

Over the next five years, The Conservation Foundation will increase its efforts to transition to a more community-based, grass-roots conservation organization with impactful on-the-ground programs and projects tailored to the needs of each of the four core counties served. This strategic approach will achieve:  

  • Deeper mission impact in our communities
  • Consistent and expected presence in our communities
  • Meaningful and long-lasting relationships with communities and individuals
  • More engaged (grass-roots) community in local conservation
  • Broader community support for TCF and for local conservation programs
  • Enlightened communities where conservation is encouraged and is a core value

Click here to see a 5-year Strategic Plan that is their roadmap to making a deeper impact in your neighborhood over the next several years.

Members of the Illinois Recycling Foundation enjoy the benefit of spotlighting their Business, Government, Educational Institution or Non-Profit entity in a future Newsletter. If you would like to be featured, please send an email to
GDB increasing Plastic Recycling to 80 Million Pounds

GDB International is expanding its film recycling capabilities and plans to add more collection points nationwide, betting on increased demand for post-consumer LDPE, LLDPE and HDPE. Sunil Bagaria, president of GDB, told Plastics Recycling Update that China’s National Sword policy and a rise in recycled-content legislation reshaped market dynamics. “We got so used to shipping our scrap overseas we stopped seeing the value in it,” Bagaria said. “Now, everyone is seeing the value again.”

GDB originally shipped the film it collected out of the U.S., until China’s National Sword went into effect in 2018. “We decided to do here what our customers had been doing” overseas and process the scrap in-house, Bagaria said. “The China problem was a blessing in disguise for our recycling industry in the U.S.,” he added.

GDB is an IRF Benefactor Member and has been featured for their latex paint recycling efforts. This is an excerpt from a recent article in Plastics Recycling Update.
Honoring George Brabec - founder - Retiring
In 1970 a high school kid, son of a Northwestern University Chemistry Professor, started a newspaper drive as a fundraiser for the local park district to buy trees. Thus began an amazing career in the recycling business that has had an impact on Illinois and beyond for 53 years! George Brabec was one of the few involved in the formation of our statewide recycling group with Steve Apotheker (Community Recycling Center, Champaign), Anne Aitchison (Naperville Area Recycling Center), Mark Loughmiller (SWALCO), Greg Lindsey (McHenry County Defenders) and others. Not only did he run his high school's recycling program for 18 years but teamed up with the Northshore Ecology Center, eventually becoming their Executive Director with 18 recycling drop-off sites and four curbside collection centers. "In those days, we made money from high grade IBM card stock used to operate computers, along with newspaper, aluminum cans and plastic bottles."

George went on to work for SWANCC, Land and Lakes, Weyerhaeuser, and lastly, with International Paper, from which he is retiring. We wish George a fond farewell and our heartfelt thanks, as he departs Wrigleyville for sunny southern California.
Earth Day 2022
The theme selected by is Invest in Our Planet. They are calling for a Partnership for the Planet with business and government acting in partnership with people. #Investinourplanet The Illinois Recycling Foundation was built on the principle of bringing business, government, non-profits and educational institutions together to address waste and pollution through resource reduction, reuse, recycling and composting. If your organization has an Earth Day Fair, a collection event or litter pick-up, be sure to register it on the Earth Day organization website but also, let us know, share a photo on social media and inspire others to celebrate and conserve our natural resources.
Upcoming Webinars
The Illinois Recycling Foundation Board members are working to offer a panel discussion on Textile Reuse and Recycling in May. There are efforts to explore developments in Packaging EPR on a webinar that could lead to manufacturers funding recycling. Watch for our upcoming emails and register to attend!
Legislative Update from IRA
This historic and fast-paced session ended late on April 8 with movement on a few items of interest and the promise of others coming back in the Fall for Veto session. Of significance to note:
HB 107 Tire Rim Recycling Record Keeping
HB 1780 EPR for Pharmaceuticals
SB1915 Restricted Procurement of Single-Use Plastics by State Agencies
SB 3626 Change in Testing for Solid Waste Site Operators
SB 3633 Documentation by local government of demolition actions
SR 706 Resolution acknowledging the first week of May 2022 as Compost Awareness Week
The Illinois EPA submitted Initial Rules for C&D Recyclers based on legislation passed last year and the comment period recently ended. The IRA C&D recyclers submitted comments in response to the IEPA's proposal and the process will continue to evolve.
Other bills expected to make an appearance during Veto session include topics such as Polystyrene Foam Ban, Environmental Justice, Paint Stewardship, Carpet Stewardship and Composting.
State of Illinois Passed the Compost Awareness Week Resolution (SR706)
May 1 - 7, 2022 is officially Compost Awareness Week in Illinois. The theme for 2022 is "Recipe for Regeneration: Compost", which recognizes and promotes the importance of composting and the use of compost in growing healthier food, supporting healthier soils and, ultimately, creating a more just and sustainable world.
Federal Recycling and Composting Accountability Act
The Recycling and Composting Accountability Act, S3743, is a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Sen. Carper of Delaware and Sen. Boozman of Arkansas, calling for data collection, infrastructure quantification, study of compost best practices, compost use markets and compostables feedstocks, passed the Senate Environment, Public Works and Transportation Committee yesterday morning.
In discussing this bill and the Recycling Accountability Act, a similar bill that looks at recycling systems and markets, it was exciting to hear that Senator Carper mentioned, “I compost at home. We ought to be able to compost in our office here,” and said the Capitol Architects office would be working on that! This bill was introduced as a bipartisan bill; USCC chapters and members from states with Republic members of the Senate Recycling Caucus have been our targets as cosponsors; our Iowa Chapter, which includes Vermeer, one of our equipment manufacturing members, has secured a pledge from Sen. Grassley to co-sponsor! Next steps - the Senate floor!
Earth Month Video
A new video to share for Earth Month with a focus on fixing Wishcycling was recently made by the Illinois Contamination Task Force. Fast paced, featuring many contamination errors, it is sure to give your Wishcyclers something to think about. The theme is Know before you throw! Be sure to share it on your social media.
Federal Effort to Recover Wasted Beer
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a bold plan to recover wasted beer. To be fair, they want to recover the material left over from the brewing process because Americans don't waste beer. Another step forward in composting and waste reduction. Click to learn more
A Note from the President, Marta Keane
Happy Earth Month! We trust all of you have been busy and will be busy posting to social media and offering or participating in events. We would love to get your news so we can recognize your efforts. Please know that we welcome your suggestions for tours and webinars, while our board is busy planning a conference for the end of August and looking forward to seeing each of you in person! Please know we are seeking sponsors, topics of interest, talented presenters and exhibitors as we offer an overnight, fully-packed two-day, illuminating, must-see convention!

In an effort to do more on social media and alter make our website more reflective of our members, we are asking IRF Members to send generic photos of their recycling operations. Pictures can be of office collection, residential drop-off, MRF sorting lines, curbside service, someone placing items in recycle bins, reuse events, compost operations, etc. Please send jpeg/jpg pictures to
Nearly every business member and many government and institutional members have job openings. They are actually too numerous to list all, so please visit the IRF Membership Directory and find member's websites to see the jobs currently awaiting interested applicants.
Job Change
Congratulations to Board Member Mindy Agnew who, after nearly 5 years as the Sustainability Coordinator for the Village of Oak Park, has left to take a position with Baxter as their Senior Manager of Supplier Sustainability. We look forward to her continued involvement with the IRF and IRA, including her contributions to the monthly newsletter.
City cuts back on Recycling, only to Increase it to Save Money
If you ever wonder about the cost of recycling in uncertain markets, keep in mind it is a long term winner. One Florida city recently invested in glass recycling equipment to add glass and other items they had dropped from their program last year to reduce the cost of dumping. The cost of landfilling tends to consistently rise but the cost to recover, reuse, and recycle diverts tends to be lower, especially when the savings and service years of equipment are calculated into the decision.
(It's not too late to add your name to this list)
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All members that did not renew have been removed from our Website Membership Directory, the most popular search page on our website for folks involved in offering reuse, recycling, and composting services. We thrive on offering informative webinars, access to an amazing array of professionals and sharing our newsletters that not only include updates on legislative actions and industry innovations but features on our members. Membership fees are affordable but we need all members to renew.

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"Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack".
Joliet Junior College
Illinois Recycling Foundation / Illinois Recycling Association, PO Box 411, Geneva IL 60134
708 358 0050