Saturday, June 13, 2009

Media Phish: "Blue carts beat blue bags"

The following feature will be a sporadic look a various archived news articles that I have kept around for one reason or another. I tend to keep a newspaper from every trip I take in another city, whether it is a formal paper or an entertainment publication. When I revisit these papers, I gain some interesting, additional perspective on things, which I may care much more about than I had when I bought or picked them up originally. They also give me an opportunity to look back on the times in which I was living--experiences, current events, etc.

I picked this paper up when I ventured up to Chicago to see the incredible Office, along with their good Detroit friends, Freer. It was a free show at Schuba's, run through This was during my only summer quarter off, as I am in a five-year co-op schedule, which requires me to be in class every other quarter and working for a relevant firm during the other quarters. So, of course, I spent all my money trying to get out of town. Oh, and pissing off my douchbag of an employer at the video store. There have been many employer-upsetting trips to Chicago over the years. Ahh, memories.


I most certainly did not have a green perspective at the time, although I did recycle at my old place in Corryville. Usually my neighbors on the upstairs floor would flood the recycling bins with their empties of cheap beer and broken glass, leaving little room for me to recycle what I had anyway. I was beginning to theorize about ways that recycling could be enhanced in Cincinnati. Considering the small size of our green recycling bins through Rumpke, I thought that a good nudge would be to mandate recycling bins be purchased through the city, as many others have done in the past. Recycling carts would also be mandated, but their size would double the size of the provided garbage bins.

Many cities have their own methods to encourage or require recycling. In San Francisco, they require three containers at your residence--recycling (green), compostables (blue), and waste (black)--or you will be fined. It seems to be working though. The city is approaching its goal for 75% of waste diverted by January. Many other cities in the West have similiar programs that would seem to infuriate typical midwesterners. However, when the discussion of green jobs comes up, the construction of additional recycling facilities should be a priority. It is the crux keeping many cities in the region from taking recycling and waste reduction seriously. There are just not enough outlets for our post-consumer materials.

The following article explores the trial-and-error and processes of Chicago's recycling program. Sharing it with you is meant to spark some thoughts (in your own mind) or discussion (outside your own mind) about ways that we can encourage greater recycling rates in our own community.

Blue carts beat blue bags

From The Chicago Tribune; Thursday August 9, 2007, Section 1, page 1 & 18:

Photo taken from flickr user Mark 2400.

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