January 3, 2018

City's Blue Cart Recycling Program Debuts New Online Schedule Finder Aimed at Increasing Participation in Recycling Program

Pilot Shows 32 Percent Decline in Recycling Contamination after Targeted Educational Campaign

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) today launched a new online tool for residents to easily find their garbage and recycling pick-up schedule as part of an ongoing campaign to increase participation for the City’s Blue Cart Residential Recycling Program. The tool builds on the success of a 2017 outreach and education pilot that helped reduce recycling contamination by 32 percent in test areas.

“Our goal is to make recycling as easy as possible for everyone,” said DSS Acting Commissioner John Tully. “Residents can quickly find their pick-up day for recycling and garbage as well as user-friendly information about what they can and can’t recycle, all in one place. It’s one less barrier to greener communities and a Zero Waste Chicago.”

Residents can access their respective garbage and recycling schedule, by visiting www.recyclebycity.com/chicago/schedule then entering their address and choosing “Get my Schedule”. The site also gives the option for email reminders for service days with customization settings.

The Blue Cart Recycling program continues to promote environmental responsibility by diverting recyclable materials from landfills and in turn reducing sanitation costs, making it fiscally responsible as well.

In 2017, through a partnership with The Recycling Partnership, DSS explored new ways to raise awareness and reduce Blue Cart contamination through an outreach and education pilot with more than 4,400 participating households. A preliminary sampling study found that 80 percent of the households in the pilot area had some form of plastic wrap or bags in their cart. Targeted outreach materials were mailed to each home and placed directly on their Blue Cart with simple messaging identifying plastic wrap as a contaminant. At the end of the pilot, there was a 32 percent decrease in overall contamination in collected samples from participating households, ensuring the contents of their Blue Carts will be recycled and not sent to a landfill with refuse.

DSS will continue targeted outreach to combat contamination and increase awareness and this month, all residential households serviced through the City will receive a new mailer with recycling days, reminders about acceptable materials for Blue Bins and a link to access recycling information online.

The schedule finder is a part of the Recycle by City Chicago web site which also includes a comprehensive guide to recycling in the city with common Blue Cart contaminants, details on City services and links to recycling resources. The Recycle by City Chicago web site was launched in 2015 to support the City’s Blue Cart Recycling Program. Today, the national Recycle by City program provides hyper-local recycling information to more than 2.5 million households nationwide.

Under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, DSS completed the roll out of the Residential Blue Cart Recycling Program in the fall of 2013. The City of Chicago currently provides bi-weekly, single stream recycling service to approximately 600,000 households.