Recycling advocates in the city of Chicago have been dismayed for years,
but skepticism is now widespread when it comes to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s trial plan
that involves partly privatizing the service.
This week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a plan to divvy up the city’s six areas. The city’s own Streets and Sanitation department will pick up curb-side recycling bins on the North and Southwest sides of the city, while Metal Management Midwest takes on the South Side. Waste Management will service the remaining areas and will also tackle an additional 22,000 homes in the Wicker Park, Bucktown, and Logan Square neighborhoods.
Emanuel claims that letting the private and public workers battle it out for the best and lowest cost service possible will benefit taxpayers, but the plan isn’t entirely new. Before he passed the baton to Emanuel, then-Mayor Richard Daley wanted to start a bidding process for a city recycling program contract. Many saw it as yet another attempt to privatize city services despite the lingering pain of the horrendous parking meter deal. And many more focused on Daley’s “lackluster” record for recycling services. Currently, the city pays $13.8 million for recycling services but only about half of the city's residents, or 241,000 households, have recycling available to them while 359,000 are left without the service.