when we heal the earth, we heal ourselves. david orr

Alicia on The Mike Nowak Show

Chicago horticulture expert Mike Nowak invited me on his radio show to discuss Earth Hour. LISTEN HERE. I'm about 3/4 of the way into the recording.

Friday, June 11, 2010

PHOTOS: Blue Carts Everywhere? City Council Debates Long-Awaited Expansion of Recycling Program

I've never had a blue cart. It's the cart Chicago provides for residents to recycle. But there's a catch. Well, there are a few catches.
  • Currently only about one-third of the city actually has a blue bin because the city ran out of money to fund the program city-wide.
  • Secondly, if you don't get your regular waste hauled away by the city, you'll never get a blue bin - like people living in condo buildings that hire private waste haulers.
In my old Lincoln Park studio I had to RALLY MY CONDO BOARD PRESIDENT into providing a private recycling option, which cost the board more money. It was totally worth it, though. Once we got the bins, everyone was using them!

Now that I live over in West Town in a three-story walk-up, I should have a blue bin, but the program never got expanded to my neighborhood. This means I have to haul away my own recycling to a huge public receptacle miles away from where I live. This is what is looks like in my kitchen right now.

Gross. Plus, how unsustainable is it for people to have to drive their recycling all over town!

I testified about how ridiculous this is at a Chicago City Council meeting Monday. It was a meeting to discuss an order recently proposed by Alderman Tom Allen that would expand the blue cart program to all Chicago neighborhoods by this fall.

Read my article about what happened at the meeting over at MINDFUL METROPOLIS: ALDERMAN PUSH FOR EXPANSION OF THE BLUE CART PROGRAM.

Plus, Micah Maidenburg quoted me in his RECYCLING STORY FOR CHICAGO JOURNAL.

In other news, here are some pics of Peanut playing hugs and kisses with a friend at the doggy beach. The real question is, can you tell which one is peanut?


EcoChicago said...

Received this today:

You’re so much more organized than me. When I lived in South Dakota, we didn’t have recycling at my apartment building, so I would just fill up plastic bag after plastic bag with recyclables and it would just grow in a pile on my floor (much faster than my garbage!). My boyfriend at the time would get so annoyed, but I didn’t care. When it bothered me, I’d pack it up and bring it to the public drop off (which was right near my work).

I’m so happy that I live in a blue bin area but at the same time think it’s ridiculous the program hasn’t expanded. Seriously... it’s 2010...

Hope you’re doing well!

Niki :)

lidia said...

I just read the article in the Chicago Journal and am so glad to see this getting more publicity.

I'm currently relocating to my husband's condo in the West Loop which has a building recycling program (hooray) but I spent the last 3 years in my Jefferson Park condo, hauling my recyclables weekly to a drop-off a mile away.

Some of my other neighbors were also doing the same and we quickly noticed that we accumulated WAY more recyclables than regular garbage. Being a devotee of the Blue Bags back in the day, I always feel guilty throwing away recyclables. But hauling it to the drop-off once a week, not to mention, bags piling up in my small kitchen and car, was frustrating. I appreciate your help in giving this topic more attention!

EcoChicago said...


I'm glad you're moving to a condo building with a good recycling program.

I plan to advocate for better recycling options this summer and will be writing a feature article for Mindful Metropolis about the issue. I'll keep you updated through EcoChicago, so please subscribe via email, if you haven't already, and thank you for commenting. I love to hear personal stories from my readers!

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