At $800,000-plus, the waste hauling contract which Forest Park’s village council approved for three years at a meeting last week will be one of this group’s biggest decisions.

By a 4-1 margin, and with the strong recommendation of Tim Gillian, the village administrator, the council signed on for three more years with Republic Services, the company that has been hauling garbage, recycling and yard waste out of this village for decades.

The annual cost increase of 3 percent is reasonable, the base line cost is notably lower than nearby towns, says Gillian, and pretty much everyone is happy with the service.

There was a long discussion about the value of going out for bid on such a large deal, the genuine nod toward transparency that bidding represents. Ultimately Commissioner Dan Novak took that stand and we respect it.

Here’s our view: The three-year pact seems like a solid deal.¬†

Now let’s spend the next two years actively breathing life into issues of sustainability in Forest Park, in a world facing a climate crisis. The early energy is gathering on this issue among innovative and passionate volunteers. Let’s figure out what recycling really looks like in a world where China has backed way off absorbing America’s mountains of recycling. Food waste, composting, cutting way back on single-use plastics (thanks Field Stevenson School third-graders for leading on plastic straws), banning Styrofoam take-home containers in our many restaurants. Let’s figure out how to charge for waste pick-up by volume, not the same costly 90-gallon container for every home. How do we cut yard waste by encouraging mulching, by adding prairie gardens instead of water-eating and weed-killer-infested grass lawns?

And in two years, after all that planning and innovating, let’s go find the perfect partner to haul less trash, less recycling and less yard waste at a better price.

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