Member Spotlight: ClearStream Recycling

Strong, clear bags have always been part of ClearStream’s DNA and trademark. ClearStream Recycling, based in Belvidere, grew out of a business called Resourceful Bag and Tag, which increased recycling at curbside with variable-rate curbside collection programs. Their expertise developed by producing millions of bags for Pay-As-You-Throw programs for cities and counties and waste haulers across the US.

Along the way, ClearStream made continual improvements to their portable recycling systems including: locking, hot-stamped lids; custom bags, available in pallet quantities, expanding opportunities for sponsorships, material identification, and event branding; transporters and bins available for colleges, cities, and counties; a SideKick system that hangs on the side of a barrel, wheeled cart or any flat surface, including a chain link fence and becomes an instant recycling station; ClearTainers, a full line of permanent containers; and the Billboard Sign Kit, the most cost-effective way to pay for recycling programs by showcasing sponsors and advertising community events.

Thirteen years later, with over 1 million ClearStream systems in use, the Connector was introduced. The Connector links portable bins into rigid solid waste stations that streamline collection, safety, and sustainability.

Today, more than 4000 customers are using ClearStream for events throughout their communities. It is a container that loans and shares easily, so communities are able to create a “tool shed” where event organizers can borrow the containers and return them when finished.

ClearStream remains committed to recycling that is effective, efficient and economically successful.

Their customers include school districts, colleges and universities, large business/manufacturing facilities, event planners, sports facilities, park districts, military bases, and waste and recycling haulers.

IRF Kick Off 2024 Annual Membership Drive

All 2023 IRF and IRA members should have already received their renewal notice via email. If you have not, please contact Sue Steilen, our Executive Director, or any one of our Board Members today!

Membership prices have remained the same as 2023. IRF relies on memberships dues for operational support, including production of monthly newsletters and webinars. Please consider upgrading your membership to Benefactor status. As a Benefactor, your logo is included on every newsletter and webinar. Please email or call our Executive Director at 708-358-0050 with any questions about your membership.


You can show off in a press release or simply show us your everyday operation. Either way, we can utilize your photos on social media and on our website. We are asking IRF Members to send photos of their recycling and collection operations. Pictures can be of office collection, residential drop-off, MRF sorting lines, curbside service, someone placing items in recycle bins, reuse events, compost operations, etc. Please send jpeg/jpg pictures to

Register Here

A Note from the President, Clair Ryan

At this time of year, we express our thanks for what we have and that which sustains us. While IRF kicks off our annual membership drive, I would like to thank each member for their support this year. Your contributions are critical to IRF's continuance. From your financial support through membership fees and sponsorships, we have been able to provide information through our monthly newsletters, webinars, annual conference, and to individuals who email and call our organization for help with recycling. I am thankful for the relationships formed and the support I have received as I have taken on the role of IRF President. Thank you for all you do to recycle in Illinois!

I'm also excited about hosting our upcoming Recycling Professionals Forum on December 12. Having grown up in New York State, which has had a beverage container deposit program in place since the year I was born, it's easy to take the benefits of such a program, such as broad-based participation in recycling and reduced littering, for granted. However, as a professional in the recycling field today, I can understand how super-imposing a bottle deposit program on Illinois, when the population centers of the state are already served by curbside recycling programs that rely on the commodity values of beverage containers, could cause major disruptions if not undertaken carefully. I hope you will join me in learning more about these considerations and how they might be addressed in future legislation from our experts, who represent both beverage container manufacturers and curbside material recovery facilities. Register for free today!

Thank You to Our 2023 Benefactors!

Consider adding your logo here. Become a 2023 BENEFACTOR for $2000.
If you have already joined and would like to upgrade to this status, send an email to

We want to thank all the members that participate in our committees and invite you to join as many hands makes tasks lighter and easier.

Join the Communications & Education Committee if you write or do social media. Just send your press releases to the Executive Director so we can include those in our communications!

We welcome those versed in sales or simply able to promote the value of waste reduction, recycling and composting to join our Membership Committee. This committee meets several times in the Fall and Winter.

Planning is underway for the 2024 Conference, and we want everyone's input. Those interested should join the Events & Conference Committee. Help us set up tours anytime and at least a couple at the Conference. Find speakers and create social networking opportunities for all. We event have an Awards subcommittee.

Take a quick minute to fill out our form here or send your choices to

If you see a need for a specific topic-focused committee, please let us know!


U.S. Senator Tom Carper Calls for National Composting Strategy to Reduce Landfill Emissions

EPA stalls approval for import of GenX PFAS waste to North Carolina facility

Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act Reintroduced

New York DEC Announces Bottle Bill fraud Prevention Effort

LyondellBasell Collaborates on Innovative Paving Project Using Recycled Plastic

LyondellBasell along with the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) announced the use of the equivalent of 520,000 plastic retail bags to pave 4,875 square yards of parking lot at the Louisiana Integrated PolyEthylene JV LLC. The project utilized 8,000 pounds of LyondellBasell CirculenRecover polymers, made from plastic waste using a mechanical recycling process

Read more

New Jersey Lab Supplier Partners with TerraCycle on Recycling

Thomas Scientific LLC, a Swedesboro, New Jersey-based supplier of equipment, chemicals and supply chain services to the scientific community, has partnered with TerraCycle to offer companies that purchase single-use disposable gloves from Thomas Scientific a sustainable recycling solution for the gloves after use. 

Read more

National Survey of Over 1,000 U.S. Residents Provides Insight on Recycling Decisions  

The Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) conducted a web-based consumer survey with a focus on recycling of foodservice packaging (FSP). The main purposes of the survey were to understand: (1) what assumptions residents are making about the recyclability of FSP, (2) what sources of information and campaign methods are most effective in educating residents about recycling FSP, and (3) how behavior and assumptions differ between FPI Community Partnership (CP) regions and non-CP regions.

Read the full summary

Dollywood Finds Perfect Partners on Road to Increased Sustainability

With the Great Smoky Mountains literally at Dollywood’s doorstep, the overwhelming beauty of nature is always top-of-mind for both park guests and hosts.

It is this natural atmosphere that inspires some of Dollywood’s newest ways to maintain that splendor for years to come. Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful (KTNRB) recently was named “2023 Nonprofit Recycler of the Year” by the Tennessee Recycling Coalition for a program launched at Dollywood. Through the program, approximately 350,000 cigarette butts have been recycled and turned into items like plastic outdoor furniture. That effort is just one of the recycling programs in place at Dollywood Parks & Resorts, and it takes place under the watchful eye of Dollywood’s Grounds Manager, Bobby Johnson.

Read more

Educational Opportunities
NRC has launched a new website and announced registration information for National Recycling Congress (virtual conference) being held December 5 and 6!

Insights into Effective Resident Education

FPI has conducted nationwide surveys to gauge the effect of images, language and special instructions in communicating with residents about recycling take-out containers like paper and plastic cups, pizza boxes, and clamshells. Insights from these studies can be used to inform effective messaging for communities as they add foodservice packaging to their existing recycling programs. During this webinar we will learn about the findings from the resident surveys, share best practices and tools, and hear real-world examples of resident messaging.

Register Here

Possible Grant Opportunities


Since 2015, the FRC has awarded grants used to increase foam recycling. Additional grant recipients will be announced on an ongoing basis. 

Grant information and application

Job Postings


EV Terra

Maintenance Technician and Operator and Driver in the Chicago area.

We encourage all readers to visit the IRF Membership Directory and find member's websites to see their job listings. We post employment opportunities for members at no additional fee. SEND US YOUR JOB POSTINGS.

You never know what you can do until you have to do it.

~ Proverb


Illinois Recycling Foundation / Illinois Recycling Association, PO Box 411, Geneva IL 60134
708 358 0050