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Environmental Stewardship

Groot Green, More than a Color

Being environmentally conscious has always been the cornerstone of Groot Industries. Being “Green” has driven Groot to be on the forefront of recycling programs and initiatives. For decades, being green was more than just a color, it has been the foundation of how we collect and process solid waste. Please note the "firsts"

Earth Day

1986 - Groot Industries spearheaded the first curbside recycling programs in northern Illinois thru multiple pilot programs and within 4 years expanded them to incorporate its entire residential customer base.

1989 - Groot Industries built the first Midwestern MRF (Material Recovery Facility) capable of separating plastics into 4 different types - glass by color, tin, steel, and aluminum. In addition a second process to sort newspaper, junk mail, phone books and magazines was incorporated. This allowed our collection vehicles to be of the "two" sort variety instead of six to eight, saving tremendous amounts of time and fuel and making the collection of recyclables more economical.

Old Facility
New Facility

1997 - Groot Industries designed and built the first SINGLE STREAM material recovery facility in the Midwest in conjunction with its Primary Waste Processing Facility. The single stream facility allowed us to mechanically separate the paper products from the other recyclables. This process allowed us to use the same type of vehicles used for the collection of waste as we use for recycling; two compartment specialized trucks were no longer required. Our Primary Waste Processing Facility also gave Groot Industries the ability to process "Blue Bag" recyclables which was a process required by the City of Chicago for a time. This system further can recycle about ten percent of "raw" waste which flows thru the facility.

We presently collect waste and recyclables from over 250,000 homes per week as well as thousands of business establishments in northern Illinois.

2005 - Groot Industries began experimenting with alternate fuels in order to decrease our carbon footprint and searching for ways to power our vehicles more economically. We were the first waste and recycling company in Illinois to start using BIO-diesel fuel.

2006 - Over 60 percent of our fleet operates on BIO-Diesel fuel.

Powered by Biodiesel
Bio-Diesel Fueled Truck

2007 - 100% of our residential, recycling, and commercial and industrial collection vehicles operate on BIO-diesel, the first in the Midwest.

2008 - Groot Industries makes a commitment to start converting its collection fleet to operate on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). CNG is over 80% less polluting than pre-2007 diesels. ONE diesel engine idling is louder than TEN natural gas engines idling together.

Powered by Natural Gas
Illinois Recycling Award Illinois Recycling Association
Excellence in Recycling Award

2009 - Groot Industries works with Mack Trucks to build the first 20 CNG trucks to come off their lines. We then proceeded to build a CNG refueling station for our fleet and now are the first waste industry company in the Midwest to start operating on compressed natural gas.

2010 - The Clean Cities Coalition is an organization funded by the United States Department of Energy. Every year they evaluate organizations and people that best embody their mission by the use of alternative fuels. The “Clean Fuels Champion” award has been given to congressmen, businesses and local governments that stand out by going above and beyond in promoting or implementing alternate fuel vehicles and alternate fuels.

Groot Industries is honored to accept the 2010 “Clean Fuels Champion” award for what we have accomplished in the arena of compressed natural gas (CNG). We first made the commitment to start converting our fleet in 2008 and we now operate more CNG vehicles in the Midwest than any other company whether they be public, private or governmental.

Groot Industries will continue to be on the forefront of progressive energy efficient methods for operating its fleet.

Clean Cities Award

2011 - Groot Industries is honored to accept the Partnership Award for Innovative Energy Solutions for our accomplishments in the arena of compressed natural gas (CNG).  This award was presented by the Energy Solutions Center, a non-profit organization of energy utilities and equipment manufacturers that promotes energy-efficient natural gas solutions and systems.

This year, in addition to continuing to purchase more CNG-powered collection vehicles, we have doubled the size of our fueling station capabilities.  We also have included with the expansion of our facilities a secondary station to provide fuel for outside customers. This expansion will provide the much-needed infrastructure to promote and support the use of CNG by other types of transportation and service companies.

2011 ESC Award

2012 - We are pleased to be recognized and receive the 2012 Illinois Green Fleet Award as we continue to expand our Natural Gas Fleet capabilities.

The excerpt from the Illinois E.P.A. publication reads as follows: Groot Industries, a family operated waste hauler based in Elk Grove Village, has 33 refuse trucks that run on natural gas and has installed two natural gas refueling stations to share with other fleets.  The Illinois Green Fleets program provides for "Green Environment, Green Energy, & Green Economics for a Green Illinois," through the use of clean alternate fuels, such as natural gas, biodiesel, ethanol, propane and electricity in their fleet vehicles, as well as retrofitting existing diesel trucks with clean technology options to reduce diesel particulates.  Information regarding the program can be found at

"These are family-owned and larger businesses, as well as public bodies, that have seen the value in supporting clean air, energy independence, jobs and providing insurance against the concern about high prices for gasoline and diesel," said Interim Illinois EPA Director John Kim.  "These new Green Fleets join an elite fraternity of over 100 designated fleets throughout the state.  We see more and more family-owned small businesses that are taking the initiative to purchase and convert their vehicles and equipment to run on a clean American fuel," said Darwin Burkhart, program manager for the Illinois EPA and Chairman of Chicago Area Clean Cities. 

Illinois Green Fleets

2013 - In addition to continuing to purchase more CNG-powered collection vehicles, we have doubled the size of our fueling station capabilities. We also have included, with the expansion of our facilities, a secondary station to provide fuel for outside customers. This expansion will provide the much-needed infrastructure to promote and support the use of CNG by other types of transportation and service companies.

2014 - Groot Industries completed its upgrade of the Material Recovery Facility in Elk Grove Village, IL. The MRF is now the most advanced in the area and is capable of processing over 40 tons per hour of single stream residential recyclables. This investment in the future of recycling for the Greater Chicagoland area will keep Groot at the forefront of Reducing, Re-using and Recycling large portions of the Municipal and Commercial Waste Streams for years to come.

Illinois Green 2014

2015 - Groot is partnering with Trillium CNG to open its third public/private CNG fueling station in McCook, IL. This station will serve as the fueling hub for Groot’s McCook location as well as many over the road trucking companies that are planning on converting vehicles to CNG.

2018 - Acquired an additional Material Recovery Facility in Plainfield, IL. During a period where the marketing of recyclables faced many challenges, we expanded our processing footprint in the Greater Chicago market. This decision was made to ensure and sustain our ability to continue to both process and market materials collected from our municipalities.

2019 - Groot partnered with the City of Naperville and Trillium to bring a CNG fueling station within City limits. This has allowed us and others to significantly increase our fleet that operates on CNG in this service area.

2020 - Groot/Waste Connections partnered with Lion Electric to develop its first fully electric side load vehicles. Although we have made significant investments in CNG technology we feel it is important to lead the way in developing efficient, no emissions options in the waste industry.

2023 - Groot builds a state of the art material recovery facility in Plainfield, IL. This allows us to retain/expand our recycling footprint with regard to the collection, processing and marketing capabilities within this service market.

2023 - Groot/Waste Connections builds and develops a waste to energy system at our Winnebago Landfill. This will allow us to send useable gas back into the local grid and benefit local communities.

GROOT GREEN has always been more than just a color to us. It is the cornerstone of our attitude with regard to how we value our environment.

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