- The Chicago Recycling Coalition says the city of Chicago is illegally putting yard waste in landfills, despite claims that it is sending trucks to pick up the waste and giving residents clear instructions on how to use their yard waste bags.
- Based on a WBEZ 91.5 investigation, it appears this pickup service is not being provided — at least in the few cases their investigators observed. There are stats to suggest the lack of service may be common; in 2014 the city collected about 10% of what it collected in 2010, reported WBEZ.
- A spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation told WBEZ that separate pickups got too expensive for Chicago, so residents must call 3-1-1 for yard waste pick-up, which residents do not appear to be aware of. The Coalition is calling on the city to work on a resolution that would ensure the waste is picked up and residents receive clear instructions.
Dumping yard waste in Chicago’s landfill is illegal. But the alternative of picking up the waste separately is expensive, which is largely why Iowa recently made a controversial move to overturn a state ban on yard waste deposits into landfills.
Further, getting people to comply with waste collection protocol can be challenging — even more so if they do not receive clear instructions. In Chicago curbside, pickup is not working.
"The yard waste pickup is basically nonexistent in the city of Chicago. And so the Chicago Recycling Coalition finally said that’s enough. Especially because we are in violation of state law," said Mike Nowak of the recycling coalition. The organization sent a letter to the city demanding it devise a clear consistent waste pick up plan.
He is concerned about offering residents the opportunity to call 3-1-1 as opposed to regular pickups.
"If you want a program to fail, make it an opt in," said Nowak.