Over the past couple of years, the City of Chicago has been expanding its recycling programs and the process is worth mentioning.  It began when the previous Mayor Richard M. Daley announced a new blue bag technique. This method was designed to prevent recyclables from being mixed in with regular trash. However, the recycling rates under the blue-bag system were very low and the City moved to a more common method of recycling. Last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) celebrated the one year anniversary of the successful Blue Cart Recycling Program.

blue bins

In 2013, 85,000 tons of recycling was collected. As of right now, the City of Chicago is on pace to collect over 100,000 tons of recycling. Recycling rather than landfilling is also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 220,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

“Through the citywide expansion of the Blue Cart program last year, Chicagoans in all neighborhoods can now participate in the effort to make our City greener,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Investing in a citywide recycling program will help ensure that future generations will live in a more environmentally-friendly city.”

The City of Chicago and the DSS is continuing its efforts to boost recycling participation by partnering up with the Carton Council, a not-for-profit organization committed to reducing the environmental impact of cartons.

“We are happy to lend our support to the Blue Cart program and recycling in Chicago by encouraging everyone to recycle their cartons, and keep them out of landfills,” said Elisabeth Comere of the Carton Council of North America. “Through this campaign, we want to motivate residents to pledge to recycle their food and beverage cartons, and understand how it helps the environment and the City of Chicago.”

The Council will engage in a “robust citywide recycling outreach and educational campaign focused on encouraging residents to recycle their food and beverage cartons.” In honor of America Recycles Day, which is November 15, there will be carton recycling advertising on CTA trains and buses along with CTA bus shelters. The slogan to encourage carton recycling is “Every carton has a future. Don’t throw it away. Recycle all your cartons today.” The campaign has launched on Facebook and residents have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win gift certificates from their local grocer by pledging to recycle their cartons.

According to a DSS spokeswoman, Molly Poppe, the campaign also addresses the misguided public perception that cartons are not allowed for recycling, like they were in the Blue-Bag program, however, they have always been allowed in the Blue Cart program.

“The Department is always looking for opportunities to build on the success of the Blue Cart program through these types of partnerships, and I am excited to work with the Carton Council to improve carton recycling and all recycling in Chicago,” says DSS Commissioner Charles Williams. “I look forward to seeing our citywide recycling numbers improving each year.”

Here at Budget Dumpster, we have been following the City of Chicago’s recycling success over the past couple of years. If you are unfamiliar with the Blue Cart Recycling program, check out our past post here. We continue to enjoy learning about Chicago’s ongoing efforts to improve recycling and to keep the City green.

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