Chicago Recycling Program to Grow in Size, Not Cost

July 19, 2011

Our mayor has found a way to expand the city’s recycling program while saving Chicago residents some money.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that changes to the city’s Blue Cart Recycling program will include the implementation of managed competition and the use of both private and public workers.

blue recycling truckThe current Blue Cart Recycling program services 240,000 Chicago homes and costs the city $13.8 million. But bids from private-sector companies have come in at approximately $6.6 million for the same service areas.

That would give the city’s taxpayers a projected savings of more than 50 percent.

“I promised the people of Chicago that my administration would work to deliver the best services in the most cost-effective way possible,” said Mayor Emanuel.

“Delivering our Blue Cart recycling program at a lower cost to taxpayers is the first step in making recycling collection available citywide.”

This week, the city will sign contracts with two vendors to take over a portion of the recycling pickup services in Chicago.

The city will be divided into six service areas, and four of them will be serviced by those two private companies. The other two sectors will be maintained by the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation.

City employees who work in areas that are going to be handed over to the private sector will fill other vacant jobs within the department.

The two companies with the lowest contract bids in each of their respective areas are:

*Waste Management, which will collect in Areas 1, 3 and 6.

*Midwest Metal Management, which will collect in Area 5.

Those companies have 60 to 90 days to begin collection services. Within four months, 20,000 Chicago homes will be added to the routes, and in 2012, even more will be added. Eventually, the entire city will be involved in the program.

“As residents of Chicago, Teamster members are supportive of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s effort to provide more services at a lower cost, and we’re pleased that after decades of being ignored that we are being included in an initiative from the beginning,” said Teamsters Joint Council 25 President John T. Coli.

“We look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate that when given the fair chance, our members will provide quality recycling services for the lowest possible cost while keeping our tax dollars in the city.”

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