What to Do with Your Trash

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Byline: Steve Zalusky and Erin Holmes Daily Herald Staff Writers

Northwest suburban residents are going to be up close and personal with their trash for the next few days, so here are a few tips to living in harmony:

Use heavy-duty trash bags; or double bag your trash. Put the bags in containers and clamp the lid tight, away from raccoons and opossums.

Do not take your garbage out to the curb today. Unless you live in Schaumburg or Rolling Meadows, nobody is going to come get it.

And don't bother carting it to a landfill yourself. C. Brooke Beal, executive director of the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County, said the Glenview transfer station is closed to the public.

"We will not accept waste from residents," Beal said. With trucks and end loaders moving around, it wouldn't be safe for residents to drive in and drop off their refuse, he said.

Roughly 3,300 garbage workers in Chicago and the suburbs went on strike Wednesday after contract talks between union and management officials broke down. Millions of residential and business customers are without trash pickup.

In the Northwest suburbs, only Rolling Meadows is almost entirely unaffected. The city has municipal waste pickup, so trash will be hauled away as usual.

In Schaumburg, village officials are hopeful their hauling contractor can get around to all the neighborhoods by using only management workers.

Other communities aren't as sure about that, and are expecting their haulers to get to critical areas only. Hoffman Estates, for instance, says garbage will be picked up from St. Alexius Medical Center, but they are telling residents to keep trash off the curb.

Other communities got lucky with timing. Hanover Park doesn't have another scheduled pickup until Tuesday, when the strike might be over.

Trouble could arise for businesses.

Collection delays are a major concern in commercial areas, especially restaurants, which use smaller dumpsters.

"It could be an issue in fairly short order," said Buffalo Grove Village Manager William Balling.

Managers and owners should keep the refuse area clean, double- bag if possible and use heavier trash bags, said Arlington Heights Health Director Tom Oas.

Health inspectors will be on the lookout for ripped bags, and will ask business owners to re-bag.

"The good thing is it's cold out, so it's keeping the horrible wasp population down," said Drew Olbur, who owns Wiener Take All in Buffalo Grove. He is worried that if the garbage piles up over three or four days, he could get visitors.

"You don't want to come to work the next day and see a raccoon in your garbage."

GRAPHIC: How trash strike affects Northwest suburbs

Arlington Heights: Don't put trash on the curb. If strike ends today or Friday, collection will simply shift forward a day. Health inspectors will be on lookout for ripped bags; in which case they will ask the business to re-bag the trash. For updates, call (847) 368-4000, log on to www.vah.com, or watch local cable TV.

Barrington: Village is working on a contingency plan in event of long strike. …