Hey, did you know Chicago’s recycling system SUCKS ASS?

No shit. You have to BUY the blue bags that they require you to put recycled materials in, these bags just go with the normal trash pickup, and you are just supposed to trust that the bags you spent money on actually get separated from the trash and recycled at their final destination. Sounds like a load of crap to me.

Everywhere outside of Chicago that I have lived in my life has had a really robust recycling program. Up in the suburbs, you get 2 different recycling bins; one for paper and one for plastic. You bring these bins out on trash day, and a separate RECYCLING ONLY truck comes around and picks them up. What a novel idea. They do the same thing in California.

So who is the rocket scientist who devised Chicago’s system? Apparently, he is about to be fired. An article in the Trib (subscription required, or go to bugmenot to fakey mcfakerson it) points out the totally obvious fact that “The city needs to re-evaluate how the program works. We know that as long as there is one single pickup [of trash and recyclables], people are not going to be motivated to recycle”. Duh. And guess what else they say? A good and functional recycling program for the city is not only good for the planet, but by fining people who don’t comply, the city stands to make a pretty penny. How has it taken them this long to realize that this is a win-win situation?

btw, the new grocery bags that Dominick’s is using can also double as blue bags.

4 Comments so far

  1. foo (unregistered) on October 13th, 2004 @ 3:39 pm

    Don’t get too upset. The recyclers cannot handle the volume of stuff that is recycled and most of the stuff ends up getting put into the landfills anyway. Everyone (the city, the collection companies and the recyclers) still gets their credits for recycling and nobody makes a stink. It is an open secret. Talk to someone in waste mgmt off the record or just go ask your garbage man what really happens to the recyclables.


  2. Lauren (unregistered) on October 13th, 2004 @ 3:47 pm

    But that is what is so ridiculous about it. There is no reason that perfectly good material that can be recycled should be heading towards landfills. And all that does is cement the belief people have that buying Blue Bags is really just buying overpriced trash bags.

    Chicago and Waste Management need to get their shit together and their head out of their ass. They can’t handle the volume of stuff? Then they get a bigger recycling plant. It’s not brain surgery. I think it’s total bullshit that people get credits for recycling stuff that never gets recycled. Who is this supposed to be helping?


  3. Tom (unregistered) on October 13th, 2004 @ 5:54 pm

    And if they make it mandatory, the hypocrisy’s doubled. I know I’ll be pissed if they try to impose fines for us not recycling when all they’ll do is put it in the same pile as the rest of the trash.


  4. Elizabeth (unregistered) on November 28th, 2005 @ 9:53 am

    I’ve heard from some local activists (ALERT: conjecture and rumors ahead!) that only something like 10% of the blue bags actually end up getting recycled in the end. On top of that, it’s a really skimpy number of Chicagoans that attempt to use the system in the first place.

    Just when you think you’re doing something good by sorting through the smelly party trash for glass bottles . . .



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