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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle



Practices of the City of Chicago and Beyond. Presented in March at the Women's Thealogical Institute Intensive on the Environment, March 2011

Practices of the City of Chicago and Beyond. Presented in March at the Women's Thealogical Institute Intensive on the Environment, March 2011



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  • Blue Cart“Single Family Units” or buildings with 4 or less units are serviced by the Blue Cart Program.But only in those shaded areas.Single Stream: all items placed into the same collection binItems sorted later at a processing centerShown to increase recycling rates nearly 30% (according to Waste Management, Inc.)
  • FundingCosts were supposed to be off-set by savings in disposalSorting Facilities pay the City for materialsthe Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is providing assistance in the form of a four year, $8 million grant
  • Processing Facilities: Most recycled materials are shipped to Asia for processing.
  • Controlled CombustionCompacts 90% of waste which saves landfill spaceCleaner than fossil fuels
  • The methane gas is recovered via a series of wells drilled into the landfill. These wells are connected by a common pipe system that collects the gas and transports it to a nearby compression facility. At the compression facility, the landfill gas is de-watered, filtered and pressurized. The gas is piped to an electricity generating plant, onsite or offsite, where it is used as fuel to turn engines or turbines to generate electricity.
  • Materials are pre-sortedNon-recyclables are pulled off by handThis includes plastic bags and they have a special way to collect thoseThen there is a screen that pulls off the cardboardA screen pulls out newspaper, which is later checked by handTechnology is programed to spot plasticsThen uses air to sort them by typeMagnets collect any metals
  • In addition to energy conversion of trash, Waste Management has developed large scale compost sites To help the communities that they serve and their individuals, WM created the “Think Green” websites to offer educational materials on recyclingStudent ProjectsResources for recycling centersAt home solutions for recycling offered for sale.There is even a member feature that allows people to track their recycling contributionsGreenoplisAn interactive social network dedicated to sustainability Individuals learn and teach each other how to be more environmentally responsible in their daily lives. The site promotes issues such as conservation, recycling and renewable energy awareness. Again there is a member feature that actually gives rewards for environmental activism. Points are administered for recycling at Greenopolis Kiosks and site activitity. Points can be redeemed for coupons to a host of participating businesses.
  • Members contribute funds, and then receive a weekly share of the harvest
  • The City of Chicago has announce plans for a composting heap using scraps from commercial restaurants.The chosen location is just off of 118th street and Avenue O in the 10th Ward.
  • Travel Wisconsin offers a searchable database of tourism related products and services which can be defined narrow results with listing that carry the Travel Green certification.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Presentation Transcript

  • Reduce, Reuse and RecyclePractices of the City of Chicago and Beyond
    By Amy Christensen
    Women’s Thealogical Institute Intensive on Environment
    March 2011
  • Part 1 Recycle
    One woman’s trash, is another woman’s treasure.
    Recycling just one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for four hours, power a computer for 30 minutes, or a television for 20 minutes
    As per 2010 WM Sustainability Report
  • Does Chicago Recycle?
    Blue Cart Program
    Drop Off
  • Wolf Lake Drop Off Center
    The 2010 City Budget did not allocate funds towards expanding the Blue Cart Program.
  • Chicago does not operate it’s own sorting or processing facilities.
    Chicago Utilizes private Waste Management to process the bulk of it’s waste, both recyclable and non-recyclable.
    Where Does the Recycling GO?
    Recycling Bins used by the Chicago Police Department come from Premier Recycling; now under the parent company Waste Management, Inc.
  • Sensational Sanitation
    Waste Management, Inc. is North America’s Largest Residential Recycler
    Creating Energy from Trash
    • Waste to Energy Combustion
    • Landfill Gasto-Energy
  • Landfill Gasto-Energy
  • Processing Recycled Material
  • Helping Communities Achieve “Zero Waste” Goals
    “Think Green” and “Think Green from Home”
    The Future of Waste Management
  • Chicago, the City that Works
    Waste Management is bound by decisions made by individual Municipalities. In Chicago, city sanitation trucks are responsible for the collection before it is out-sourced
  • Not-for-profit
    Offers commercial and Residential recycling
    A decided difference is their claim that 90% of the materials gathered are in fact, recycled
    Alternative and Local Options
    The downside: Resource Center has only four locations, all on Chicago’s North Side, and only one accepts plastics.
  • City Farm
    • A miniature farm in the most urban of neighbor-hoods
    • Utilizes compost made from local restaurants
    • Offers a wide variety of vegetables
    • Manages a fresh farmers market
    • Open for membership
  • Part II Reduce and Reuse
    Changing what we view as trash on a personal level.
    Every day in the United States, each person produces about four and a half pounds of garbage. That adds up to one ton of waste per person each year, more than half of which goes to landfills
    As per 2010 WM Sustainability Report
  • Ideas to Consider
    • Re-usable shopping bags
    • Reading Media via the Internet
    • Washable Cloth
    • Napkins
    • Towels
    • Diapers
  • Purchase Recycled
    There are many resources for recycled clothing, furniture and small appliances
    Many companies offer products made from Recycled Materials
    • American Chemistry Council
    • Chicago Recycling Coalition
    • Green Seal
  • Composting
    Compost provides the organic matter to make any soil alive growing environment.
  • Re-purpose
    • Purse: Plastic Shopping Bags
    • Magazine Holder: Cardboard cereal boxes
    • Butterfly Broaches: Plastic Soda Containers
    • Lanterns: Glass Spaghetti Jars
    These and more crafts can be found at
  • Eat Your Greens!
    Many local restaurants are committed to environmental sustainability.
    In addition to Chicago’s Guaranteed Green listing, consumers can consult The Green Restaurant Association and Green Seal
    Many municipalities also have local listings.
  • Travel Green
    Star Performer!
    • The very first state-sponsored sustainable tourism certification program in the nation began in non-other than Wisconsin!
    • This program has become the model for the rest of the country
    • To obtain certification, Wisconsin businesses must obtain at least 30 points of standard in 9 environment categories and supply an Environmental assessment which tracks energy, fuel, water, and solid waste that the business consumes
  • Conclusion
    Silence may be golden but the environment requires a voice
    One Person can make a Difference!
    • 10th Ward Alderman John Pope was amazed at the amount of recycling happening
    • My personal complaints about the state of the drop-off bins resulted in next day clean-up.
  • Bibliography
    • American Chemistry Council, Inc. 2011. 09 February 2011.
    • “Blue Cart Recycling Program.” City of Chicago. 2010. 03 March 2011.
    • Chicago Recycling Coalition. 09 February 2011.
    • “Dine Green.” Green Restaurant Association. 03 March 2011.
    • Earth911. 2011. 09 February 2011.
    • “Greenopolis.” WM GreenOps LLC. 2010. Waste Management, Inc. 02 March 2011.
    • “Green Restaurant List.” Green Chicago Restaurats Co-op. Lackner/Andrews. 2011. 09 February 2011.
    • Green Seal. 2010. 03 March 2011. <>
  • Bibliography Continued
    • Lachowicz, Jean. “Free Recycling Program Threatened with Privatization.” Gazette Chicago. 03 December 2010. Gazette Chicago. 09 February 2011.
    • “Private Sector and Business Recycling.” 2010. City of Chicago. 09 February 2011.
    • “Recycling Crafts and Projects.” All Free Crafts. 2011. 03 March 2011.
    • Resource Center. 2009. 09 February 2011.
    • Think Green. Waste Management, Inc. 02 March 2011.
    • Think Green From Home. 2008. Waste Management, Inc. & Brimark Consulting Group. 02 March 2011.
  • Bibliography Continued
    • “Travel Green Wisconsin.” Travel Wisconsin. 2010. Wisconsin Department of Tourism. 03 March 2010.
    • Waste Management, Inc. 2011. 02 March 2011.