It’s been a busy year at Incinerator-Free Lake County!


Inspired by all of our regional successes, we have formed a new non-profit called, Midwest Sustainability Group.  We are in the final stages of completing our legal corporations (501-C3 and 5010C4) and our website.  We’ll link to the new website as soon as it’s ready.  In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter (@midwestsg) or on Facebook:


Both IFLC and Midwest Sustainability have new logos (thanks to artist and friend, Bob Stotts for the awesome logos!) We branded them together as a smokestack morphed into a tree.


You can also find us on Twitter @incineratorfree and on


Our social media following is growing considerably, please like and follow us and help us increase our following!


In an exciting new chapter for Incinerator-Free and Midwest Sustainability, we are launching a new campaign along with the Sierra Club and Illinois Environmental Council on foodwaste which is three-part:

1)     Reducing food waste (food waste has huge environmental impact and was recently cited in a UN report as the 3rd largest Greenhouse Gas emitter after the emissions of the US and China!)

2)     Recovering unused but still edible food and redistributing it to feed the hungry.

3)     A legislative phaseout of food scraps out of Illinois landfills and in to compost.

Our campaign is called, Zero Waste; Zero Hunger and will have its own website.  You can follow us on Twitter (@ZerowasteZH) and on Facebook

If you’d like to help out, please contact, Barbara Klipp at


Can you believe it’s already time for a new Lake County 5-year Solid Waste Plan?!

Thanks to our ongoing advocacy and relationship building efforts, incineration and related combustion technologies like Gasification and Pyrolysis are NOT being considered in the new plan.  We are a member of the Citizen Advisory Committee for the new plan and are proactively engaging to include even more Zero Waste activities in Lake County.  Our co-founder and spokesperson, Barbara Klipp, member, Maryanne Natarajan and Midwest Sustainability Group board member, Chris Pado are all on the committee. 

In addition to participating in the formation of our new plan, we are also currently shepherding the recommendations of the 60% Recycling Task Force (which our efforts helped create) through the County Board.


Incinerator-Free Lake County is a coalition partner with the coalition organization, Clean Power Lake County. We are a grassroots organization whose mission is to build a healthy, clean energy future for Waukegan and all of Lake County.

Currently we are working on a just transition and closure date for the Waukegan Coal plant.  We advocate for all stakeholders to be involved to see that the community, the workers and the environment is considered in future plans for this aging and polluting facility.

You can stay tuned with our activity and follow is on Facebook:


Last December, our beloved, co-founding member, Kimberly Thoede, lost her battle with pancreatic cancer.  This was a devastating loss for us as Kimberly was, not only a co-founder, passionate advocate, inspirational leader and hard worker, but was loved by all. We are planning a fundraiser later in the year to raise funds for a grant to be given in Kim’s name for another woman making a difference to improve the quality of life in her community.  Stay tuned…


We joined with the local Sierra Club Group to advocate for a new Sustainability Coordinator in Lake County.  Environmental champion and Lake County Board Member, Pat Carey, carried this initiative as a member initiative and we supported her in this successful effort to create this new position.

We are delighted that, not only were we successful in that advocacy, but that the county was able to find an excellent candidate to fill the new position. K.C. Doyle, previously the Sustainability Director of Oak Park, is our new (and first) Sustainability Coordinator and we are eager roll up our sleeves and get to work with her!


In 2014, The American Lung Association again gave Lake County an “F” on its “State of the Air” annual report card. .

We have had several activities this year in support of clean air including:

•  A presentation to the Lake County Board Health and Community Services Committee along with the Sierra Club and Respiratory Health Association to advocate for greater efforts to lesson our air pollution and raise awareness

• Testifying at the US Environmental Protection hearings on the Tier 3 Tailpipe standards and on carbon emissions for coal and gas fired power plants

• Asking State Senator, Terry Link and other elected officials, to advocate for a more aggressive air monitoring program in Lake County

• Participation as a coalition partner with Clean Power Lake County

• Continuous monitoring and oversight of Countryside Landfill in Grayslake



We have been participating on the Illinois Task Force for the Advancement of Materials Recycling and advocating for Zero Waste policies at the state level. We will have ways you can support us in that effort soon.


Last year, on June 8th we joined the Grayslake Park District in their annual beach clean up.  It was so much fun that we decided to make it an annual event.

Our favorite moment was when IFLC member, Dick Hosteny, found a book entitled “Environmental Science” embedded in the muck along the parameter.  Now that’s how we like our irony!




March 22, 2011 Illinois EPA hearing update

Many thanks to everyone who attended the IL EPA hearing on March 22nd and spoke out against the increasing pollution levels at Countryside Landfill and Countryside Genco, and the request by both parties for an amended emission permit, including: IL Rep. Sandy Cole, Lake County Board members Melinda Bush and Pat Carey, Grayslake Village Trustees Ron Jarvis and Jeff Werfel, and members of the Sierra Club Woods and Wetland Group, and many local citizens of Grayslake, Vernon Hills, Third Lake, Wildwood and Zion, and even a Prairie Crossing Charter school student, who bravely put the IL EPA and Countryside Landfill on the spot and rendered them speechless with her pointed questions.
There was a large crowd at the hearing and much was revealed:

• Countryside Landfill is currently in non-compliance with its operating permit and has been since Dec. 2008.
• Countryside Landfill has been acutely aware that they have exceeded their permit since 2008, but has chosen not to implement adequate measures to achieve compliance.
• It’s likely that the IL EPA will grant the permit request, but expressed concern that it might soon be exceeded. Indeed, sulfur dioxide emission levels at the landfill continue to rise dramatically, and either exceed or will soon exceed the requested new permit limits. According to our data received from an IL EPA FOIA request, they have already exceeded their requested permit amount of 97.5 percent.
• It’s our understanding that many other landfills around the country have had similar problems with hydrogen sulfide gas from landfilling gypsum (the product Countryside Landfill took in which creates the hydrogen sulfide gas during decomposition). We have a textbook published by McGraw-Hill from 2002 on waste management practices which clearly states that hydrogen sulfide gas is one of the serious consequences of landfilling gypsum. Nevertheless, at the hearing Countryside Landfill manager Mike Hey said that they are in “uncharted territory.” Instead, the landfill hopes that hydrogen sulfide emissions from the landfill will decrease spontaneously, and that they can avoid the expense of a scrubber.
• Mr. Hey stated that they believe this is a spike in emissions, however information obtained in the FOIA request, shows that hydrogen sulfide levels have been steadily rising since 2008, and many experts working with us believe they have not yet peaked.
• Countryside Landfill continues to accept smaller deliveries of gypsum in other forms, but says they will not accept loads of ground gypsum.
• IL EPA was unsure whether a scrubber is required for existing sources that exceed the 100 ton/year of sulfur dioxide emissions.
• According to our consulting engineer, a properly designed scrubber can address both emissions and odor problems. An estimate from a document received from the county shows the top-line scrubber system is approximately $300,000 capital cost and $277,000 in annual operating expenses.
• Countryside Landfill is considering installing smaller, individual scrubbers at various gas wells, but has not installed them, yet, according to Mr. Hey.
• Installing individual scrubbers on various wells is considered a “penny-ante” measure and is known to be ineffective, according to our consulting engineer.
• Grayslake relies on the Landfill for a portion of its operating revenue. Two village trustees (Ron Jarvis and Jeff Werfel) appeared at the hearing and spoke against the permit request.
• The Landfill might challenge legal decisions that do not support their business strategy, specifically if their permit request is denied, according to Mr. Hey.

Here’s what you can do to help:
Written comments, considered with the same weight as verbal comments at the hearing, may be sent to: Illinois EPA, Dean Studer, Hearing Officer, Re: Countryside Landfill, 1021 N. Grand Ave. E., P.O. Box 19276, Springfield, IL 62794-9276; 217/558-8280 by April 21, midnight.

In your comments, please ask the Illinois EPA to require Countryside/Genco to keep its sulfur dioxide emissions at or under its current permitted levels or face stiff fines; install a “scrubber” to clean up hydrogen sulfide gas; agree to not accept construction materials containing gypsum; install a backup generator ensuring existing flare operates at all times.

The draft permits are accessible at

The IL EPA will respond to all relevant concerns and questions in a formal responsiveness document (required by federal NEPA law).

A decision whether to grant a new air pollution permit is anticipated by June 20, 2011.

In addition, it’s come to our attention that we have other avenues that we can pursue to ensure Countryside Landfill installs a comprehensive scrubber system, whether or not this permit is issued. If you would to participate, please contact us.

Incinerator Free Lake County
(847) 665-9418
Like us on Facebook: Incinerator Free Lake County
Follow us on Twitter: Incineratorfree

February 24, 2012 Sustainability Forum with Local and Congressional Candidates

Incinerator Free Lake County is hosting a Sustainability Forum on Friday, February 24th, 7:30 – 10:00PM at the Byron Colby Barn (1561 Jones Point Rd.) in Grayslake IL.

Current elected officials who are running for re-election will be participating in 2 environmental/sustainability round tables in the same evening. The first one will showcase local elected officials in the Grayslake area; the second features candidates for the newly redistricted Illinois 10th Congressional District; Ilya Sheyman, John Tree, and a representative from Brad Schneider’s campaign.

Please send your sustainability and environmental related questions for our guests via Twitter, Facebook, and Guests will also be able to submit questions in person on the evening of the event. This is a great opportunity to hear from your local elected officials and candidates speak on environmental issues in a friendly and productive manner.

Guest panelists:
• Ilya Sheyman, D: candidate for the Illinois 10th Congressional District (
• John Tree, D: candidate for the Illinois 10th Congressional District (
• *Brad Schneider, D: candidate for the IL 10th: (
• Melinda Bush, D: Lake County Board Member and candidate for the 31st Illinois Senate District (
• Pat Carey, D: Lake County Board Member, Dist. 6 (
• Steve Carlson, R: Lake County Board Member, Dist. 7
• Sandy Cole, R: State Representative in the 62nd Illinios House District (
• Jim Newton, R: Lake County Board Member, Dist. 3
• Jeff Werfel, R: Trustee for the Village of Grayslake and candidate for the Lake County Board, Dist. 6 (
• Sam Yingling, D: Avon Township Supervisor, Candidate for the 62nd Dist. of the Illinois House (
• Ann Maine, R: Lake County Board Member, Dist 21, Lake County Forest Preserve President (

*Representatives from Brad Schneider’s campaign will be in attendance to answer questions.

The event will also feature presentations regarding the proposed Rt 53 extension. Guest presenters are Mike Sands, who has been appointed by the Blue Ribbon Panel to oversee the environmental concerns of a proposed Rt. 53 extension ( Both will speak about the environmental issues surrounding a proposed Rt. 53 extension and what can be done about it if anything.

This event is open to the public and is a fundraiser for Incinerator-Free Lake County and our newly formed non-profit, Midwest Sustainability Group.

Suggested Contributions at the door (Credit Cards Accepted):

$10 – student, senior or military guest
$20 – Guest
$50 – Friend
$250 – Supporter
$2500 – Event Sponsor


Welcome to our virtual headquarters. Incinerator-Free Lake County is a grassroots effort made up of concerned citizens of Lake County, Illinois, who have a learned a lot about garbage in a very short time. We formed in November 2009 to oppose the addition of mass burn incinerators and alternative waste-to-energy technologies to Lake County’s 5-year Solid Municipal Waste Plan. We asked the County Board to remove these technologies from the plan, and instead take a more forward-looking approach to dealing with the county’s waste through increased recycling and composting. Today we are working with our county as part of a recycling task force in order to move towards a higher recycling and landfill diversion rate.

10 reasons not to have an incinerator

Reason #1: Harmful to public health

Reason #2: Regulations don’t ensure safety

Reason #3: A track record plagued by malfunctions, explosions and shut-downs

Reason #4: Not compatible with waste prevention, reuse, recycling and composting

Reason #5: Expensive and financially risky

Reason #6: Waste-to-energy is a waste of energy

Reason #7: Deplete resources and permanently damage the natural environment

Reason #8: Contribute to climate change and undermine climate-friendly solutions

Reason #9: Require large investment, but create few jobs compared to recycling and composting

Reason #10: Incineration is avoidable and unnecessary.

Excerpted from  An Industry Blowing Smoke  JUNE 2009
AUTHOR:  David Ciplet
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
1958 University Avenue  Berkeley, CA 94704
510-883-9490 • www.gaiaglobal

Any part of this report can be reproduced and distributed in unaltered form for non-commercial use with proper acknowledgement.  Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). All rights reserved.

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Health Effects of Waste Incinerators

incinerator2largeThese are some Excerpts from:

The Health Effects of Waste Incinerators; 4th Report of the British Society for Ecological Medicine

  • “Large studies have shown higher rates of adult and childhood cancer and also birth defects around municipal waste incinerators: the results are consistent with the associations being causal. A number of smaller epidemiological studies support this interpretation and suggest that the range of illnesses produced by incinerators may be much wider.”
  • “Incinerator emissions are a major source of fine particulates, of toxic metals and of more than 200 organic chemicals, including known carcinogens, mutagens, and hormone disrupters. Emissions also contain other unidentified  compounds whose potential for harm is as yet unknown, as was once the case with dioxins.  Since the  nature of waste is continually changing, so is the chemical nature of the incinerator emissions and therefore the potential for adverse health effects. “
  • “Present safety measures are designed to avoid acute toxic effects in the immediate neighborhood, but ignore the fact that many of the pollutants bioaccumulate, can enter the food chain and can cause chronic illnesses over time and over a much wider geographical area. No official attempts have been made to assess the effects of emissions on long-term health.”
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