JUNE 2008

City of Chicago shifts to new recycling program

The city of Chicago announced a change to a new Blue Cart recycling program with the entire city to be on line by 2011.

Chicago’s move towards the Blue Cart Program began in April of 2005 with a field test of 700 homes on the far Southwest side.

According to Michael Picardi, Commissioner of Streets and Sanitation, beginning in June, 2008, the Blue Cart Program will be expanded to include an additional 92,000 households which will double the number of participating households by the end of 2008.

The Blue Cart Recycling Program has been supported by the State of Illinois which pledged $8 million in 2006 to acquire new blue carts.

Given the fact that the Blue Cart method of recycling is more expensive than the method previously used by the City, the State of Illinois’s grant helped move the program forward. Chicago Streets and Sanitation has been adjusting operations to cut costs and deliver recycling and waste collection services more efficiently in the Blue Cart areas. The city will discontinue paying for the processing fee for recyclables at sorting centers and as a result will be able to accelerate the expansion of the Blue Cart Program.

The Chicago Recycling Coalition (CRC) applauded the announcement by the City of Chicago that the Blue Bag Recycling Program is coming to an end this summer and that by 2011, it will be fully replaced citywide by the source-separated Blue Cart Recycling Program.

During the transition to the new method, Chicago will double its existing network of 16 regional recycling drop off centers citywide. The additional recycling drop sites will be located at City facilities and district park sites.