How to make Chicago’s recycling better than just garbage in, garbage out

Madeleine Doubek
Last month, the Better Government Association’s investigative unit reported that a “managed competition” program being used for residential recycling wasn’t being managed well at all…The report found neighborhoods on the Northwest, West and Far South sides were 20 times more likely to have their recycling diverted to a landfill. Waste Management handles the recycling pickups in those communities, and Waste Management owns a landfill where much of the contaminated recycling is dumped, giving it a chance to be paid twice: once when its workers label a recycling bin as contaminated and again when it accepts those bins at its dump. Two private firms and city workers handle garbage pickup and recycling in various neighborhoods, but those serviced by Waste Management are much more likely to have recycling labeled contaminated.

Illinois PIRG, the Chicago Recycling Coalition, the Illinois Environmental Council and the BGA’s policy unit, which operates independently from its investigative unit, all have called for a thorough audit and evaluation of the Chicago recycling program before the private haulers’ contracts expire next July.

Read the entire piece at Chicago Sun Times

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