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Chicago officials on Wednesday released a formal waste strategy for the city, which is thought to have one of the lowest recycling rates among major U.S. cities at around 9%. There are dozens of near- and long-term recommendations regarding policy, operations, community efforts and more.
Unlike some cities, Chicago is not setting a specific waste diversion target at this time. “We did not set a goal because I think for us this is a roadmap to move to a better direction,” said Chief Sustainability Officer Angela Tovar. “I think it would be a big leap to go from the current rates that we have here in the city of Chicago and then to jump all the way to zero waste without talking about the interim steps in order for us to get there.”
According to documents, another next step in the strategy is to research “potential for implementing waste hauling zones for commercial waste,” an approach New York City and Los Angeles have taken. Other ideas include bolstering organics collection by adding food scrap collection to yard waste routes, and establishing a revenue-sharing partnership with a textile recycling company for collecting clothes, shoes, and other textiles.