Monday, May 5, 2008

Uptown Finally Helps Scrap A Failed Experiment

Ray Kozicz, a Streets and Sanitation worker, demonstrates how the blue containers are dumped, after an announcement of new recycling efforts at a news conference at Margate Park on Friday. photo by Charles Osgood

By Laurie Cohen and Kristen Kridel, Chicago Tribune

Mayor Richard Daley's controversial blue bag recycling program will end this summer, and the city will expand suburban-style recycling across the city by 2011.

City Hall slowly has been moving toward replacing the blue bag program, which has been marked by cronyism and lack of participation, and has been a continuing embarrassment for Daley, who prides himself on being one of the country's greenest mayors.

Environmentalists said the blue bag program, which began in 1995, was so bad that they aren't concerned that its demise leaves the city without another system fully in place for the next few years.

"The blue bag program was so ineffective it's a minimal loss," said Julie Dick, president of the Chicago Recycling Coalition, which has long pushed the city to adopt suburban-style recycling.
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  1. What about multi-family buildings? They don't supply us with carts. I use my neighboors and it makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong.

  2. @8:04

    Don't feel bad. I do the same thing. I rent a condo. Our association just told us we had to start using the Blue Bags. They also told us to just put them in the dumpsters. This just utterly confused me. So, I continue to drop my recyclables into my neighbor's bin. The neighbors don't mind!

    Now, if we can just get the scavengers to stop going through the recycling bins!

  3. Now, if we can just get the scavengers to stop going through the recycling bins!

    Dude, what do you think the scavengers do with the stuff they take?

    If they are bums, they take them to the recycling center to get the cash and the recyclables get recycled.

    If they are the mexican wagons they take the stuff to the metal yard where it is melted down and reused.

    Either way the end result is the same, the material is reused instead of going to the dump. What's the big deal?

    I have no problem with the scavengers as long as they just take stuff that people leave out for the trash. I do not advocate leaving a mess in their wake or stealing materials(i.e. the copper in the power transformers)

  4. I guess the question is, does the City recycle to make money? Or because it's good for the environment?

    If the latter, then no problem. Stuff taken from the bins is being recycled, so who cares whether it's the City or the scavengers?

    If part of the blue bin plan is for Chicago to reap the monetary benefits of recycling, then it's a little more problematic.

    As long as the people digging through the garbage cans don't drop it all over the alleys, I don't care. But it's really depressing to see garbage that I've bagged and thrown out all over the alley and street because someone's come along and slit open the bag and gone through it.

  5. I believe there were some comments on the thread mourning the closure of the recycling center on Sheridan. basically, if you're in a multi-unit building with private trash collection, you can pay extra for recycling but then get a rebate from the city. For our 6-flat, it works out to cost about $15 per unit per year.

    I long as the scavengers don't leave garbage everywhere, they're trying to eke out a living and my stuff will be re-used and recycled. Frankly, I would much prefer their doing this to running around with guns and dealing drugs!

  6. The rest of the State of Illinois cares whether Chicago recycles. Ever travel route 88 to Iowa or head north to Wisconsin and see plastic bags in fields and hanging from trees? That's from all the semi's without required tarps hauling garbage from Chicago all the way out to the Iowa border and up to Wisonsin landfills.

    Waste Management and others are famous for researching the site of old and abandoned small town waste dumps. They turn these tiny small town sites into the EPA as toxic waste sites needing remediation. After the towns of 2000-3000 are facing fines or litigation for immediate clean-up, these Chicago waste firms step in and tell the towns that they have no choice but to sell the space to them for reopened use as the regional dump.

    After signing the deal, the small towns find out they are not getting a landfill that will serve them for the next ten years, they are getting a non-stop caravan of semis bringing a mountains of trash from Chicago. The landfill fills within a few years and local community is faced with letting the Chicago firm expand the dump or having no-where to deliver their own trash. And so the trash molehill gets enlarged to become the trash mountain range.

    You can see these artifical trash mountains next to our freeways (they always target towns along the expressway) along the major arterial roads leaving Chicago.

    Rural Illinois, Wisonsin, and soon Iowa pay the ultimate price for Chicago's neglect of it's recycling obligations.

  7. Anonynmous 10:15, you don't have it quite right. The City ceased providing garbage pickup to larger multiunit buildings years ago. Those buildings have to hire their own scavenger services while single family homes get free garbage pickup from the city.

    The city council provided a small - too small - rebate to multiunit building and condo owners that supposedly compensated them for their having to pay for their own service. Each years owners file a form and the Alderman submits it to the council for payment (making it an ideal aldermanic patronage moment, which our alderman loves to exploit.)

    The deadbeat city council never paid on time. It was years in arrears with it's payments for garbage pickup. Then it attempted to balance the budget to get rid of these rebated. Finally, it kept the rebates (9nadequate that they were) but forced these buildings to recycle into a 5 category system to get the rebate.

    Thus, these taxpayers and their properties, and only these, have been forced to recycle for years, while other taxpayers have not.

  8. @up with recycling:

    8:21 here...

    I know what the scavengers do with it. But, every time they go through our alley, it's like they're a bunch of raccoons. The alley becomes such a messier place than it did before. They rip open the bags, dump them into the alley, pick what they want, and then kick the rest to the side.

    I'm glad they go through the garbage and recycling, but if they did it in a cleaner manner, I wouldn't complain about them.

  9. Due to the problems with the scavengers dumping my trash all over our alley, I kept it in my garage until "garbage day" when the weather was cold. Now that it's warm, I guess I've got to put it out there daily again.

    Like others have said, I don't care who gets the recycling and "treasures," but damn, I wish they'd have some consideration for the neighborhood.

  10. But, every time they go through our alley, it's like they're a bunch of raccoons. The alley becomes such a messier place than it did before. They rip open the bags, dump them into the alley, pick what they want, and then kick the rest to the side.

    I said that I don't agree with that either. I haven't seen it happen with my dumpsters, but we lock ours up due to this and other issues(possible identity theft, etc). I didn't really know if the scavengers left a huge mess or not, so I kept that caveat in my post.

    I say we need an incentive program for the bum scavengers, they can adopt an alley, get the recyclables they want, and if it is clean for the entire week, we give them some Natural Ice.

  11. From the chicago recycling coalition

    Under a City law that went into effect January 1, 1995, all businesses and residential buildings that contract for waste hauling services must recycle. residential buildings over four units (for example six flats, high rises), retail stores and other businesses (for example grocery stores, dry cleaners, restaurants), and offices.

    Who is responsible for the recycling program?

    The law requires whomever contracts for waste hauling services to set up the recycling program. In the case of residential buildings, that means the landlord or management company. Commercial establishments which contract directly for waste hauling are responsible for recycling services, but those renting space in a building that provides waste hauling as part of the lease agreement should receive recycling services as well.

    Avoid City fines. There are also penalties for not complying with the law. If the City inspectors (usually from the Department of Environment or Department of Streets and Sanitation) determine that an establishment is making no effort to recycle, it has the authority to issue fines and to revoke a business license. Or it may work with the building or business to develop a better program.