Streets And Sanitation Looking Into City's Recycling Issue

Craig Dellimore
November 02, 2018 - 7:54 am

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The head of Chicago’s Department of Streets and Sanitation said he’s looking into widespread complaints about the city’s recycling program.

Carter O’Brien, vice-president of the Chicago Recycling Coalition, said one problem is that Waste Management, which collects recyclables in the city, seems to tag a lot of bins contaminated, directing the trash to landfills. The Better Government Association reported the company also owns landfills. Advocates said there is a financial incentive to divert more material to landfills since they get paid more.

"It kind of proves what we expected for a long, long, long time about the externalities about owning landfills and having recycling. If you are going to get paid to put things in a landfill, your incentive to recycle is not nearly as great," he said. 

Streets and Sanitation Commissioner John Tulley told aldermen he’d noticed a spike in contamination tags too. He said the private hauler will be monitored.

"We are looking at the contamination issue and we did in fact notice the spike in contamination," Tulley said. 

He made that promise at his budget hearing.

Environmental officials said Waste Management collects about half of Chicago’s recyclable refuse.