Rep. Keicher, Local Leaders Working to Send Roadside Trash Problem to the Dump

Rep. Keicher (left) speaks with Vice President of the Kane County Farm Bureau, Dale Pitstick (right), during a tour of Pitstick's farming operation in 2023.

The sight of trash blowing off waste-hauling trucks headed to landfills has become an all-too-common sight of late. Besides the unsightly nature of blowing trash, it has raised safety and environmental concerns for many communities, as well as caused damage to local farmers’ operations and their fields. State Representative Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore) has been working with local officials throughout the 70th House District to increase enforcement of current law and develop new policy proposals to help stop the problem.

“For years, I’ve been frustrated with the trash that’s been windblown from waste haulers going from transfer stations to landfills through our communities,” said Keicher. “Besides the litter problem, trash blowing off waste trucks is a safety hazard, and it is damaging local farmers’ fields and equipment. Current law places nominal fines on the truck driver, but we need a new approach that incentivizes wasting hauling companies to transport trash more securely and support communities when cleanup is needed.”

As Keicher noted, current law places nominal fines on the driver of the waste-hauling truck, but not the company, for debris blown off their trucks. Local law enforcement has stepped up enforcement efforts of current law, but little will change long term without changes to state law.

“Trash blowing from garbage haulers is a major problem, particularly for our farmers,” said DeKalb County Sheriff Andy Sullivan, whose department has stepped up enforcement efforts. “Not only are farmers forced to invest extra time and resources to clean up the debris, but the debris, particularly plastics, is damaging their equipment. While our increased enforcement of current law has helped, it’s going to require a change in policy to get this problem under control, and we appreciate the work of Rep. Keicher to help us solve this problem and reduce the harm it’s causing.”

Local farmer and Vice President of the Kane County Farm Bureau, Dale Pitstick, has expressed similar concerns.

“On a daily basis, I see trash fly off waste trucks as they pass by my fields. It’s very disheartening to see the litter covering the landscape,” said Pitstick. “The trash is getting into our water supply, which is obviously concerning, and many of us have had to till our fields again in the fall to prevent damage to our equipment. The current law simply isn’t doing enough, but hopefully bringing some more awareness to the problem can help make a change.”

Keicher, who has met with officials from waste organizations multiple times, as well as spoken with state legislators on both sides of the aisle, is hopeful policy solutions can move forward during the coming spring session of the legislature. Keicher’s two latest proposals include HB 2419, which gives municipalities the ability to require waste haulers to add a protective chute to prevent waste spillage being blown from their trucks as curbside pickup occurs, and HB 2420, which creates a grant program (funded by fees assessed on waste haulers carrying loads to landfills) for local governments to fund roadside cleanup programs when haulers fail to properly secure their loads. The fee would be reduced or removed for fully enclosed haulers where debris cannot escape.

Rep. Keicher serves the 70th District, which includes portions of DeKalb, Kane, and McHenry Counties.