News and Events Involving Environmental Law, Published by Chicago Environmental Attorney Dave Scriven-Young
of Peckar & Abramson, P.C. -- (312) 881-6309

Cook County Approves New Reuse and Recycling Requirements for Construction and Demolition Waste

The Cook County Board of Commissioners recently approved a Demolition Debris Diversion Ordinance, which establishes a program for recycling and salvaging of construction and demolition waste.  The ordinance is intended to introduce reuse and recycling requirements that are designed to help achieve Cook County’s goal to (1) reduce the amount of construction and demolition waste generated at the source, (2) regulate the salvage and transport of salvageable construction and demolition debris within Cook County, and (3) recover materials for the purpose of recycling and reuse that would otherwise be discarded and return them to the economy.  The Cook County Board found that the ordinance was necessary because the “debris generated in construction and demolition projects accounts for a significant portion of the materials disposed of in landfills and a large percentage of such debris is comprised of materials particularly suitable for recycling.”

Under the new ordinance, new applications for a demolition permit will be subject to two new requirements.  First, any residential building is subject to a minimum 5% by weight reuse requirement and a minimum total 70% by weight diversion requirement.  Second, any non-residential building is subject to a 70% by weight recycling requirement with reuse encouraged whenever possible.  These requirements must be incorporated into a Demolition Debris Diversion Plan, which estimates the required diversion goals and the transport means and destinations of demolition debris.

The only structures exempt from these requirements are garages and sheds, and projects that are not demolishing any load-bearing walls.  Applicants that do not fall within these narrow exemptions can also request a special exemption if certain documentation is submitted.

Within 10 days of the expiration of the demolition permit, a Demolition Debris Diversion Report must be submitted verifying that the diversion requirements were met; this must be certified by the demolition contractor that all information submitted is true and accurate.

The Cook County Board also approved fines up to $5,000 for violations of the Demolition Debris Diversion Ordinance.  The Board approved a $1,000 fine of failure to submit a Demolition Debris Diversion Report, $500 fine for a late filing of the Report, $1,000 fine for failing to submit complete and required documentation (including submitting inaccurate, incomplete, inconsistent, or illegible information), and $5,000 for failing to meet the demolition debris diversion requirements.

Stay tuned to the Illinois Environmental Law Blog for more news and developments.  To subscribe to this blog and sign up for my free newsletter, go to  To set up a free initial consultation to discuss your legal matter, please contact Chicago environmental attorney Dave Scriven-Young at (312) 239-9722 or

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