Chicago Stockpiles $1 Million in Bins

Chicago's failed recycling program wastes millions

By Jenel Nels
|  Friday, Jul 9, 2010  |  Updated 10:49 AM CDT
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The city of Chicago may have wasted nearly $1 million on recycling bins.

About 22,000 blue recycling carts sit untouched at a Far South Side warehouse, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The city bought the bins to make way for a citywide switch to curbside recycling by 2011, but the program stalled when it ran out of money. 

Now the bins sit unused, and Chicago's recycling program lags behind other major cities.  

38th ward Alderman Tom Allen says the overstock is a product of the recession.

"Nobody saw this perfect storm of economic meltdown coming. I assume they bought 'em in bulk, which gives you a better price," said Allen to the Sun-Times.

He believes the real problem is the city is treating residents in different parts of the city unequally. He believes everyone should get the carts or the curbside system should go away.

Matt Smith of the city's Streets and Sanitation department says the city purchased the last shipment of bins in 2009, seven months before the program lost funding, according to the Sun-Times.

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