Jakobsson sponsors bill for recycling

By Christine Kim

Separating plastics, glass, and paper from garbage may now be rewarded with tax credits.

The path towards recycling took a significant step forward when State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana) filed legislation on Dec. 15 of last year to offer tax credit to landlords who provide recycling services to their tenants. On Jan. 4, the bill was referred to the Rules Committee and is currently being reviewed.

“The goal (of this legislation) is to expand recycling to make sure that people do have the opportunity to recycle, and for those landlords who would like to have their tenants do it, it gives them incentive also,” Jakobsson said.

Landlords, partnerships or corporations that provide recycling services at their own cost would receive a tax credit from House Bill 4255. The size of the property will determine the amount of tax credit they will receive for their services. If a piece of property has between five and 25 offices or apartments, $250 will be rewarded, and properties with more than 25 offices or apartments will be rewarded $500, provided that the taxpayer’s income tax payment will not be reduced to zero by the credit.

Advantage Properties, 406 N. Lincoln Ave. Suite B, a division of Wakeland Rentals, is a family-owned business with units primarily in Urbana. It has approximately 30 houses and 15 buildings with a total of 350 units.

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“If (the legislation) was an incentive to get more people to do the recycling, sure, everyone is looking to save a little money,” said Michael Hunt, property manager of Advantage Properties.

However, property located within a community that already provides recycling services, such as Urbana, will be exempt from this tax credit. The purpose of this legislation, which amends the Illinois Income Tax Act, is to expand recycling and make it more available and affordable to those communities that do not currently participate in recycling.

“I think the effect would be that there will be more recycling, and landlords will have some stake in this,” Jakobsson said. “They will provide the opportunities to their tenants if they choose it. It’s not mandatory.”

With one call, the city of Urbana delivers recycling supplies to buildings if it does not have them or if a business opened up a new building. The big industrial size bins are located outside by the dumpsters and are clearly marked at all the buildings.

“The owners are very conscious about the community themselves, so the program was already here when I started working here,” said Hunt. “So to my knowledge, they’ve probably always done it. Some of our tenants actually ask if we have the program .. We have move-in packets when they first move in and some of (the recycling) information is already included.”

The University residence halls are also providing recycling equipment for all residents to use. University housing has been encouraging residents to recycle since the 1990’s and provides recycling containers, said Kirsten Ruby, the University’s assistant director of housing for marketing.

“We have heard that residents like the convenience of recycling options,” Ruby said. “University Housing is committed to providing convenient recycling opportunities for our residents.”

Throughout the years, placing recycling bins next to mailboxes proved to be effective. While looking through the mail that residents receive, residents can recycle the envelopes and paper that they don’t need or want into the recycling bin next to them, Ruby said.

“We like to think we are helping create a sustainable environment by encouraging residents to recycle,” said Ruby.