Recycling Rundown

While Chicago debates the decision to privatize recycling, Chicago Tonight takes a look at what other major cities across the U.S. are doing to ensure that their recyclables are picked up:

San Francisco: The city of San Francisco has partnered with private company Recology to provide curbside removal of recycling, trash and compostable material in three different bins. Residents pay Recology directly for their services. Ordinances passed in San Francisco make it mandatory for the city to recycle 75 percent of all waste after 2010 and 100 percent by 2020.

Los Angeles: According to their website, the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation collects over 240,000 tons of recyclables annually. The city operates the largest residential curbside recycling program in the United States, offering services to 530,000 single family homes and 220,000 small multi-family units. In 2009, Waste & Recycling News reported that Los Angeles had the highest recycling rate out of the 10 largest U.S. cities.

New York City: The city Department of Sanitation Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling runs New York’s recycling program. They offer services ranging from curbside collection to leaf and Christmas tree collection, as well as chlorofluorocarbon (C.F.C.) evacuation. While most businesses in New York use a private recycling company for their waste, the city collects between 366,000 and 423,000 tons of mixed paper recyclables per year from residents alone. In 2009, Waste & Recycling News reported that New York’s recycling rate ranked third out of the 10 largest U.S. cities.

Indianapolis: The Department of Public Works will remove curbside recycling for a monthly fee that residents may pay, or they may drop off their own recyclables at locations all over the city. Private recycling company Abitibi Bowater collects paper at many local grocery stores and donates some of the proceeds to a tree-planting fund in Marion County, Indiana.

Houston: The Solid Waste Management Department offers curbside and automated recycling, as well as removal of yard waste in compostable bags. According to their website, 19,000 homes participate in the curbside recycling program, and an additional 70,000 homes receive curbside recycling service from automated vehicles. In 2009, Waste & Recycling News reported that Houston’s recycling rate ranked ninth out of the 10 largest U.S. cities.

Seattle: The city of Seattle organizes free curbside recycling for its residents, with pickup every other week. By law, recyclable items like glass bottles and paper are forbidden from being part of garbage removal. Larger recyclable items like tires and yard waste may be dropped off at sites around Seattle.

Portland: The city Bureau of Planning and Sustainability hired 20 different waste removal companies for curbside recycling service. The city sets the fee per pickup, and each resident is given a green cart for yard waste and a blue cart for recyclable materials.

For more information on Chicago’s recycling history, check out the Chicago Recycling Coalition’s website.

Would you pay a monthly fee for citywide recycling? Sound off on our discussion board!

This entry was posted in Environment, Media, More on the Story, News & Public Affairs, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Recycling Rundown”

  1. Anderw says:

    i believe that they should charge for the regular garbage and when you recycle a certain amount you should get a discount on the regular garbage.

  2. Jerad Weiner says:

    This comment has nothing to do with recycling but it might not be a good idea to “recycle” an image that clearly has a watermark on it for your article. I don’t want WTTW to get into trouble.

  3. Kathy says:

    I wouldn’t mind paying for garbage and/or recycling pickup. But I’d rather pay it to the City of Chicago than some private company that might start raising their prices every year like the parking meter deal.

    If the City raised its prices, at least it would be available for the City’s budget.

  4. Jeffrey says:

    Is it entirely inconceivable that the city cannot turn a profit from recycling? Waste Management will only send Chicago’s recyclables and usable materials (plastics, paper, metals, etc.) off to China or India for reprocessing. Ironically, the raw material will then be shipped back to the US only to be resold again.

    Why can’t we be forward thinking and develop a self-sustaining and profitable industry to collect, process and RESELL the raw materials from the recyclables completely in Chicago?

    That’s where the most progress, sustainability and jobs would arise.

  5. bounced around says:

    I will let it kind of soak into your heads for a while, as a streets and sanitation driver and on the recycling side of it. Its not as easy as it all sounds for one curb side service I say if you dont mind being very late to work in the mornings, or worried about what time your kids get to school then hey by all means lets do curb side service, but then you know me by now you pull out of your garage and without even honking i move to let you out I know you have better things to do like picking all the papers up after a good wind.. from the front of your yards, sound fun ha.. think before you doo might regret the out come but by then its too late.. food for thought..

  6. [...] of you might have caught Thursday’s broadcast of Chicago Tonight on WTTW Channel 11, where 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack and I talked about recycling in Chicago. Let me give you [...]