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Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) celebrate this week the one year anniversary of the Blue Cart Recycling Program’s citywide rollout. Mayor Emanuel expanded the easy-to-use Residential Blue Cart Recycling Program to more than 360,000 Chicago households over eight months in 2013, following through on a key budget initiative.
“Through the citywide expansion of the Blue Cart program last year, Chicagoans in all neighborhoods can now participate in the effort to make our City greener,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Investing in a citywide recycling program will help ensure that future generations will live in a more environmentally-friendly City.”
Last year, 85,000 tons of recycling was collected. To date this year, the City of Chicago has already collected approximately 80,000 tons of recycling citywide and is on pace to collect over 100,000 tons of recycling this year. By recycling rather than landfilling over 100,000 tons of material in 2014, Chicagoans will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 220,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
As part of the City of Chicago’s ongoing effort to further boost participation in the Blue Cart program and increase the amount of materials Chicagoans recycle, DSS is partnering with the Carton Council, a not-for-profit organization committed to reducing the environmental impact of cartons. The Carton Council targeted the City of Chicago and surrounding cities and counties for this campaign as it represents one of the largest regions that include cartons as part of their recycling program, and the large number of residents that live in this area.
“We are happy to lend our support to the Blue Cart program and recycling in Chicago by encouraging everyone to recycle their cartons, and keep them out of landfills,” said Elisabeth Comere of the Carton Council of North America. “Through this campaign, we want to motivate residents to pledge to recycle their food and beverage cartons, and understand how it helps the environment and the city of Chicago.”
The partnership includes a robust citywide recycling outreach and educational campaign through print and online advertising and social media content. Through the campaign, outreach is focusing on encouraging residents to recycle their food and beverage cartons with the slogan, “Every carton has a future. Don’t throw it away. Recycle all your cartons today.”
Beginning the week of America Recycles Day, which is November 15, Chicagoans will see carton recycling advertising on CTA bus shelters, CTA trains and CTA buses. The social media component of the campaign has launched on Facebook, and residents will have an opportunity to enter a chance to win gift certificates from their local grocer by pledging to recycle their cartons.
“The Department is always looking for opportunities to build on the success of the Blue Cart program through these types of partnerships, and I am excited to work with the Carton Council to improve carton recycling and all recycling in Chicago, “said DSS Commissioner Charles Williams. “I look forward to seeing our citywide recycling numbers improving each year.”
In 2011, Mayor Emanuel implemented a managed competition program for recycling services in an effort to create efficiencies and reduce operational costs on behalf of residents. In 2014, the competition decreased recycling costs by more than $10 million. Twenty-seven city crews service Blue Recycling Carts in two recycling zones in Chicago, while two private vendors service the remaining four recycling zones.
For more information about the Blue Cart Recycling Program, residents can call 311 or visit chicagorecycles.org.
For more information on Carton Council’s campaign, visit www.facebook.com/RecycleCartons.
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