Beginning March 21 in 2012, the city of Chicago’s Blue Cart Recycling Program expanded out from its beginnings on the north side of the city. Between then and early April of that year, another 20,000 homes had the blue waste containers. This expansion continued throughout the year but still there were some who were, justifiably, angry about the implementation of this plan. At the outset of this push for more recycling cans, it appeared that it was only on the North Side of the city that residents were given more options with how they dispose of their waste. It turns out that this initial North Side offering was a test run to begin a project that would provide residents throughout the entire city of Chicago with an alternative to tossing their waste into a city dumpster.

By the end of the year, another 131,000 homes will be included in the route of the Blue Cart Recycling Program. This is all part of Mayor Emmanuel’s plan in 2013 to provide recycling to the entire city. He’s quoted with, “Chicago will no longer be tale of two cities when it comes to recycling. Adopting new strategies will allow us to expand blue cart recycling to every community in 2013, and residents will soon have greater access to recycling services, which will make Chicago a greener, more environmentally friendly city.” Hopefully this really will include every part of the city, as right now it is suggested the Back of the Yards, South Lawndale, and Pilsen neighborhoods may not be included until the fall. Some consider this strange given that neighborhoods that are surrounding these will be receiving their recycling waste containers in the coming months. Again, this may just be part of the implementation process.

This blue cart option was introduced in 2007 after then-Mayor Richard M. Daley tried a blue bag technique. These were bags (blue bags, to be precise) that were tossed out with the trash in household and commercial receptacles and other Chicago dumpster rentals. It didn’t work very well and the city hasn’t looked back since the program was ended in failure. There is a Phase One map that can be found here which shows how the expansion will take place in the beginning of this year. A second map should be released soon that will outline the finishing touches that would be providing the rest of city with their recycling waste removal by year’s end. Some of the first recipients of this program were the neighborhoods Wicker Park, Logan Square, and Bucktown, which are located on the Northwest side of the city.

Implementing this program in segments gives the city of Chicago the ability to tweak it as necessary and plan all of the routes accordingly. For a city so large, providing a blanket service immediately would certainly lead to headaches not just for those planning it but for the citizens. It is a bi-weekly service and without the proper planning and implementation, things could become very complicated indeed.

Pic via Andy Pellew