This front-page story of today's Chicago Sun Times stopped me dead in my tracks this morning. The photo, which showed row after row of unused blue carts-- stacked floor to ceiling and sitting in some southside warehouse-- that have not been passed out to qualifying Chicago households. To be more specific, roughly 359,000 of the 600,000 qualifying residences in Chicago are still waiting for the coveted blue bins to appear in an alley near them.
The blue cart program, which was supposed to have been completed by the end of 2011, ground to a screeching halt when Chicago, along with many other cities across the nation, witnessed their smoke-and-mirrors method of balancing the city budget evaporate along with the nation's economy back in 2008.
Aldermanic proponents of this city-wide program have called the stockpile of pristine blue carts (with an estimated value of $45 each) a "colossal waste of money" and demand that City Hall make recycling a priority once more. Mayor Daley defends his proposal to privatize the city's recycling, which he unveiled last month (just to freak me out, I'm fairly certain), claiming that doing so would cut $40 million of the estimated $60 million it would cost for the city to see this plan through to completion.
I'm including this blurb from The Huffington Post, aptly entitled "Chicago Recycling FAIL", which summarizes the Sun Times article and offers a more pointed reaction to the city's recycling shortcomings. I hate to break it to you, Chicago, but the only thing "green" about the recycling program in this city is our collective envy of the villages, townships, and even other cities that have managed to get it right!