Past Event

Café Society: Blue Bag Blues: Problems and Solutions for Chicago's Recycling Program

The declining participation of individual households coupled with the scandals over the city’s management has generated a re-evaluation of Chicago’s Blue Bag program. When programs all over the country were first introduced over a decade ago, many were excited to integrate environmentally conscious acts into their everyday life. However, after climaxing in the late ’90’s, participation began to decline and continues to decrease today.

Are there viable solutions that will encourage the majority of Chicagoans to recycle regularly? Other cities nationwide have implemented fines to households when recyclable goods are found in their regular trash, rate incentives for trash collection to people who do participate, and campaigns to end the amount of junk mail generated. Designating specialized trucks to pick up recycled goods, utilizing clear disposal bags that allow for more efficient sorting, and distribution of separate dumpsters are all options that have worked in other communities. However, given the size of the city and the costs of the implementation of such changes, would any of these models work for Chicago?

Additionally, various studies and community groups have shown that, often times, waste management and recycling facilities are unequally located in poorer communities of color and that people of color are in the most dangerous, lowest paying positions at these same operations. Are these recycling plants responsible for perpetuating environmental racism?

Join us at this week’s Café Society to explore viable, equitable recycling solutions for the city of Chicago.

This Week’s Articles:

For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.