April 2005

Chicago awards programs showing potential to permanently reduce city’s waste stream

Chicago, IL— Recognizing the powerful role neighborhood groups can play in creating a culture of recycling in Chicago, the Department of Streets & Sanitation has awarded five Neighborhood Recycling grants to community groups who are developing innovative environmental programs with the potential to permanently reduce the city’s waste stream.

During a ceremony at the Garfield Park Conservatory, Al Sanchez, Commissioner of the Department of Streets & Sanitation, awarded the grants, up to $50,000 each, to the following winners: the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, the Albany Park Community Center, BOLD Chicago, the Fuller Park Community Development Corporation and the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce.

The recipients of the grants were picked from a pool of applicants submitted from around Chicago. The winning organizations were recognized for crafting a unique community based project demonstrating new recycling, waste prevention or reuse initiatives. Descriptions of the winning projects are as follows:

Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance (GPCA), with its partners, the University of Illinois Extension, the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Department of Environment, is establishing four composting education centers and training thirty Chicago residents as Certified Master Composters. The composters aid GPCA, and its partners in conducting composting training at the four sites, and setting up a composting hotline to answer public questions. A compost bin distribution day will also be held to distribute 1,200 subsidized rodent-resistant compost bins to residents of Chicago. This project should divert 252 tons of organic waste from the City’s waste stream in the first year and will continue this diversion for years to come.

Albany Park Community Center (APCC) is developing a recycling program for commercial/retail partners in their multi-cultural community. APCC provides recycling education to area businesses as well. Additionally, APCC will undertake recycling education for community residents to foster increased participation in the City’s Blue Bag Program.

BOLD Chicago is coordinating recycling teams in five Chicago Public Schools high schools to promote recycling efforts. These recycling teams then promote recycling, not only in their own school, but also in other CPS schools through the development of a service learning project. BOLD also works with each school’s staff to organize a quality recycling program to recover the paper waste. In addition to the five schools targeted for intense outreach, BOLD, for recycling outreach and education, will work with one hundred other schools.

Fuller Park Community Development Corporation (FPDC) works with block clubs and community groups to educate community residents about Blue Bag recycling. Residents will receive certification as Neighborhood Recyclers once they complete the training. FPCD will also educate the community on home composting, and will distribute 400 subsidized rodent-resistant compost bins to Fuller Park residents. In addition, two “Clean Your Closet Flea Market” Days will promote unwanted items reuse through community exchange.

Edgewater Chamber of Commerce is developing a corrugated cardboard recycling program in the Edgewater community. Drop-off sites will be created. Extensive outreach will promote program participation.

Each of the projects is already underway and residents, in the respective communities, are encouraged to contact their local group to get involved in the recycling project.


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