Model Communitiesn a growing number of Illinois communities, facilities ranging from industries to schools are practicing source reduction by following the lead of community role models. The central States Education Center (CSEC), a nonprofit environmental group, has developed a Model Community Program to help communities find ways to reduce waste, eliminate toxins, recycle, and purchase products that contain recycled materials. Through this program, businesses, organizations, and other groups serve as source reduction role models in their communities. The facilities institutionalize various source reduction strategies through in-house committees and on-going educational programs.
Several schools, industries, churches and other organizations participate in this program. In a model industry, for example, solvent recycling machines are used to make solvents last three times longer. Model supermarkets have a shelf-labeling program to highlight products with less packaging. Additional model facilities include churches, banks, libraries, a radio station, a utility company, newspapers, a theater, a sorority, and even a city hall. At present there are over 70 model facilities in eight different Illinois communities.
As a result of these model facilities, less waste is generated in the participating communities, and much of what is generated gets routed to the community recycling center, rather than to the landfill. For example, one model school reduced cafeteria waste by 40 percent. Interest in the program is growing nationwide as communities use the model program to educate citizens and get them involved in reducing their solid waste.