DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — A Central Illinois power company is getting to the ‘root cause’ of environmental waste.

Ameren Illinois is recycling old or used wooden poles with its power pole initiative. The utility company said many poles become unusable from storms and car accidents. They’ve partnered with Blackwood Solutions, a recycling company that repurposes poles for fencing, landscaping, and community projects.

Superintendent Kyle Maxwell said this helps reduce the amount of wood waste at their centers and shrinks their carbon footprint.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Maxwell said. “We want to be stewards of our environment.”

Maxwell added giving poles away saves workers time and effort fitting them in a landfill.

“These poles are 30 feet long,” Maxwell said. “Our guys would be out there with chainsaws cutting them into smaller chunks so they would be able to fit in that 30-yard dumpster. So, operationally, it helps us. We don’t have guys spending time out here doing what we call ‘unproductive work’ to get this fit in the dumpster.”

In 2022, the initiative’s first year, the company diverted nearly 750 tons of wood waste from being discarded into local landfills. Maxwell said he expects that number to grow significantly in 2023.