Lake Shore Recycling to collect blue recycling carts less than 50% contaminated from four of Chicago’s six recycling regions under three-year, $ 79.6 million contract authorized by Mayor Lori’s administration Lightfoot.
The company known as LRS was the lowest of four bidders for the long-awaited contract. But that’s not the only reason he won the high stakes competition.
Lake Shore Recycling also has “more recycling assets than any other business in the Chicago area, including a state-of-the-art single-stream recycling facility that can sort cardboard, mixed paper, glass, steel, other metals and plastics, ”according to the town hall.
“The contract provides for penalties for missed collections and has greater clarification around contamination. We believe this will help improve recycling rates, ”Street and Sanitation Commissioner John Tully said in a press release.
There is no other place to go but to go up. After decades of failure, Chicago’s recycling rate still hovers around 8% or 9%.
“As part of DSS’s commitment to improve recycling rates, LRS will collect recycling with less than 50% contamination. This will ensure that more waste is recycled, ”the press release said.
Recycling contracts with Waste Management and SIMS Metal Management which expired years ago, only to be repeatedly extended one year at a time, were finally re-offered last year.
Lake Shore will now replace those two companies, under a three-year contract that includes stringent reporting requirements and penalties of $ 25 to $ 250 for each missed pickup.
City employees will continue to handle recycling collections in the two remaining recycling regions.
At the same time, Lightfoot asked the Delta Institute to study waste and recycling practices in other major cities and come up with a “checklist of things that have worked elsewhere.”
Last fall, Deputy Street and Sanitation Commissioner Chris Sauve gave an overview to the aldermen.
He argued that day that Chicago’s disgracefully low single-digit recycling rate could “double overnight” if organics and yard waste were added to the mix.
For years, the Aldermen of Chicago and the Illinois Environmental Council have demanded a managed competition review, which has allowed Waste Management to mark blue recycling carts as contaminated even though that company has a “financial incentive.” to divert »the contents of these recycling bins to landfills. they own and operate.
When recycling carts are slapped with “contaminated” stickers, Waste Management bypasses the carts, but the recycling fee is still paid. City crews are picking up the contaminated trash, which means Chicago taxpayers are paying twice.
For more than a decade, Chicagoans have been asked to place plastics, cans, bottles and paper in blue bags and throw them out with the household trash.
A few months after the 1995 launch, low turnout prompted environmental groups to denounce the blue bag program as a failure.
In 2008, then-mayor Richard M. Daley finally ditched the idea of recycling blue bags and ordered the switch to suburban-style blue carts which he once called “prohibitive cost.”
At the time, only 13% of the city’s residents bothered to participate, and an even smaller percentage of their recyclable material was actually diverted from the city’s 1.2 million tonnes of waste per year.
By the end of 2011, every Chicago household with garbage collection was expected to switch to suburban-style curbside recycling from blue carts, instead of bags. But, the city ran out of money a third of the way.
Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office at a time when Chicago was a “tale of two cities” when it came to recycling. Some neighborhoods had blue carts. Others don’t.
It only managed to deliver recycling citywide after saving millions by setting up a managed competition for recycling collections between private contractors and city teams.
Finance Committee Chairman Scott Waguespack (32nd) has proposed that Chicago restaurants and take-out places be banned from using foam containers and required to provide plastic straws and cooking utensils only on request to fight against “plastic pollution”.
Waguespack also urged the Lightfoot administration to consider replacing Chicago’s $ 9.50 per month garbage collection fee with a volume-based fee that entices people to recycle.