- Chicago aldermen are pushing for a pay-as-you-throw fee to replace its current $9.50-a-month per household garbage collection payment system, assuming this volume-based plan will motivate people to recycle more and landfill less while helping pay for a property tax rebate.
- The payment would be capped at the current $9.50, and revenue would be placed in a separate enterprise fund. Security measures would be implemented to ensure the plan remains economically feasible and that the city does not have to consider the alternative of privatizing collections.
- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration plans to assess a volume-based system later in 2016, Budget Director Alex Holt told the Chicago Sun-Times last month.
The pay-as-you-throw system is sparking conversations and initiatives in Albany, NY, Hanson, MA, and elsewhere, with some saying the switch has improved recycling, diverted waste from the landfill, and saved taxpayers money.
Chicago’s aldermen have been watching these trends, and some concluded a flat garbage fee does not motivate residents to think about how they can reduce their waste or about how much more they can recycle.
"There’s no incentive to recycle in the city of Chicago. That’s a joke when other cities across this country have been doing this for decades now. It’s time for Chicago to step up to the plate," said Ald. James Cappleman, as reported in the Chicago Sun Times.
But Holt said it’s not that cut and dry, and as such the city should not just dive in.
"That will require a lot of work and a lot of thinking. I know it works in a lot of communities. But we have some issues we need to work through. Sanitation is the primary issue. We want to make sure we continue to have clean neighborhoods," he said, as reported in the Chicago Sun Times.
There are many details to consider, like fee structure, amount, and what size can makes the most sense for the majority.