May 10, 2012

City of Chicago Announces Specific Plans for Grid Garbage Collection to Deliver Services More Efficiently and Save Taxpayer Resources

Phased roll out to begin on June 11, 2012 on city's north side

Today, the City of Chicago announced it will implement the first step toward a grid refuse collection system that will increase efficiency and productivity while saving taxpayers approximately $20 million in operations costs, as previously outlined in the Mayor’s 2012 budget.

“I am focused on protecting taxpayer money and delivering city services effectively and efficiently,” said Mayor Emanuel. “By moving to a grid garbage collection system we will be able to continue to provide residents with the same high-quality garbage collection, using fewer resources. This is a great deal for the residents of Chicago, the workers, and the city.”

The implementation of the grid system will change collection routes from non-linear ward geography to a grid system creating routes bordered by main streets and natural boundaries.  The service model will concentrate sanitation workers in targeted areas of the city each day and create balanced service regions to improve daily collection performance.

By utilizing more efficient routes, it is estimated the City will use up to 20 percent fewer crews in the first phase/area of the roll out while providing the same refuse services to Chicago residents.  Additionally, by working in a grid, it is expected that the City will significantly reduce the expense associated with fuel, vehicle purchase and vehicle maintenance.

The grid routes were developed by the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation with the help of outside consultants.  Once developed, the routes were vetted through the ward superintendents who provided valuable neighborhood expertise and feedback to make the routes as efficient as possible.  Suggestions included rerouting around arterial streets that would slow drivers during commuter rush hours; viaducts that are impassable for sanitation trucks and other areas of congestion such as alleys around schools during early morning hours.

The grid garbage collection system will roll out in seven phases beginning on the City’s north side in wards 40, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50 and a portion of ward 44.   Residents will continue to receive weekly garbage collection, though residents may experience a change in garbage collection day of service.

All residents who receive City garbage collection services and live within the boundaries of the roll out will receive a notification on their garbage cart during the week of June 4 to inform them of their new garbage collection day of service.

The City will also engage in a public outreach campaign, in conjunction with the Aldermanic offices, including:

  • Posting signage and flyers in key community locations including libraries, park facilities and police stations;
  • Distributing additional service notifications to households that receive curbside garbage service;
  • Promoting grid garbage collection changes through aldermanic newsletters, block clubs and other community groups; and
  • Engaging residents through social media forums including FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube.

“We’ve been working closely with the aldermen and their ward superintendents to address any concerns and to make certain the routes we’ve proposed are feasible and will allow our crews to continue providing great service,” said Commissioner Thomas Byrne, Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation.  “It is our priority to ensure this transition is as seamless as possible and we encourage residents to support our efforts by sharing information about the grid garbage collection roll out in their community.”

Residents who would like more information about grid garbage collection and related maps are encouraged to visit the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation website at, call 311 or contact their local ward office. 

Grid Garbage Collection Map

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