When it comes to garbage in Tazewell County and what to do with it, there’s a lot to pick through

Should the county open a site where residents can bring their mowed grass, raked leaves and other yard waste for composting?

“It’s in our plans. We hope to get one,” said Evelyn Neavear, the county Health Department’s director of environmental health, Friday at a public hearing in South Pekin. Community composting sites, for small towns or even blocks of urban areas, should be explored, she said.

More pharmaceutical and electronic items exist to ultimately be discarded than in decades past. Is one recycling and disposal event for the county, scheduled for Oct. 7, enough?

“We don’t think so for our area,” Neavear said as she and other department members raised subjects to consider in the department’s work to update the county’s Solid Waste Management Plan.

Federal and state laws require the county to review its 20-year plan, established in 1991, every five years. The Health Department will report its findings from four public meetings to the County Board’s Health Services Committee, which will compose the plan update for the full board’s review, likely next summer.

It will take that long to cover the landscape of solid waste that has changed much over the past two decades and will change more in coming years, Neavear said. So-called waste streams have evolved.

“There’s a lot more disposable items,” said Melissa Goetze, the department’s environmental health supervisor. “We’re still a throw-away society,” and recycling will retain a high priority in the revised plan.

It will include recommendations to encourage more communities, including North Pekin and Marquette Heights, to install recyling programs and others to consider switching from recyling bins to wheeled totes. They hold more material and are easier for elderly residents to use and recyclers to empty, Neavear said.

Two people attended the meeting at the South Pekin Fire Department, village Trustee Randy Martin and Scott Clifton, chief of the Cincinnati Fire Protection District. Neavear said no one attended the first meeting for public comment Thursday evening in East Peoria.

The health department will hold two more meetings next week, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Morton Public Library and from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday at the Hopedale Village Community Room.

It also will meet with the county’s township supervisors and road commissioners.

“A lot of solid waste ends up on the side of the (rural) roads,” Neavear said. “They have a say in this.”

Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin