State Rep. Jeff Keicher Wants New Approach to Prevent Roadside Trash

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.

From the Daily Chronicle: State Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, is working with officials in the 70th Illinois House District to increase enforcement and develop new policy proposals to prevent roadside trash from waste-hauling trucks, according to a news release.

The trash has raised community safety and environmental concerns after causing damage to farmers’ fields and operations, according to the release.

“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,” Keicher said. “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.”

Keicher’s district includes parts of DeKalb, Kane and McHenry counties.

The current law gives nominal fines to waste-hauling truck drivers for trash blown off the trucks. The truck’s company does not receive a fine.

“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.”

Kane County Farm Bureau Vice President Dale Pitstick, who is a farmer, shared 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,” Pitstick said. “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’s proposals include HB 2419, which would give municipalities the ability to require waste haulers to add a protective chute. The second proposal is HB 2420, which would create a local government grant program to fund roadside cleanup programs when haulers fail to secure their loads.

The fee also would be reduced or removed for fully enclosed haulers.

Keicher said he expects the policy solutions to move forward during the legislature’s upcoming spring session.