City of Chicago Announces Fourth Phase of Grid Garbage Collection System

October 30, 2012

More than 115,000 households to transition onto the new system beginning November 12, 2012

Today, the City of Chicago announced plans to roll out the grid garbage collection system to approximately 115,000 households on Chicago’s near northwest, west and near southwest sides, beginning November 12, 2012.  The transition will take place in wards 2, 12, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 35, 36, 37, and 38. 
“I am committed to providing residents with the best services that are both efficient and cost-effective,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  “Grid garbage reforms have proven successful in reducing the resources needed perform refuse collection while maintaining the high quality services Chicagoans deserve.”
Widely used by municipalities and private refuse haulers, the grid system changes collection routes from non-linear ward geography to a system of routes bordered by main streets and natural boundaries. The service model concentrates sanitation workers in targeted areas of the city each day and creates balanced service regions to improve daily collection performance.  
By using more efficient routes, the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation can use fewer crews to provide the same weekly refuse services to Chicago residents while saving millions in operation costs. It is also expected that the City will significantly reduce the expense associated with fuel, vehicle purchase and vehicle maintenance.
Under the leadership Mayor Emanuel, the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation has successfully implemented strategic reforms in its graffiti removal program and forestry services that have resulted in a 16 percent increase in average daily crew productivity in both service areas.
The grid routes were developed by the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation with the help of outside consultants. Once developed, the routes were thoroughly vetted by the ward superintendents who provided valuable neighborhood expertise and feedback to make the routes as efficient as possible.
“I fully support operational reforms that will increase service productivity and maximize tax dollars,” said Alderman Jason Ervin, 28th Ward. “We have been working closely with the Department of Streets and Sanitation to ensure the transition to the grid system is seamless and that residents continue to receive great service.”
In coordination with aldermanic offices and community groups, the City of Chicago is educating residents about the grid system and potential day of week service changes through a targeted public outreach campaign.  The campaign includes media relations, direct-to-consumer outreach and social media engagement.
“The ward-based refuse collection system is antiquated and wasteful, and I am pleased we are transitioning to a grid system, which I proposed in December 2009,” said Alderman Robert Fioretti, 2nd Ward. “By moving to a more efficient system, I’m confident that we can continue to provide effective refuse services while making better use of our resources.”
The department will finalize preparations for the transition during the week of November 5, 2012, when crews will post “Change in Garbage Service Day” notices to garbage carts to inform residents within the boundaries of their new day of service effective November 12, 2012. 
The notices will also inform residents who receive curbside blue cart recycling services that their recycling day of service will also change to the same day as their garbage pickup. Residents who receive alley blue cart recycling services will maintain their same week of service, though their day of collection may change.  Residents with alley blue cart services should leave their carts in the alley for their entire collection week to ensure service. 
During the first three phases, the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation successfully transitioned approximately 190,000 households onto the grid garbage collection system.
Residents who would like more information about the grid garbage collection system and related service changes are encouraged to visit the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation website at, call 311 or contact their local ward office.
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