Chicago Ready to Privatize Recycling

A 10-year contract with Waste Management is on the table, a union leader says

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Chicago may be close to handing off most of its recycling program to Waste Management.

    Mayor Richard Daley wants to add recycling to the list of Chicago's privatized entities that already includes the Chicago Skyway, parking meters and Taste of Chicago.

    A city official said contracts are still under review, but according to a union leader, Daley hopes to sign a 10-year contract as early as next month to give Waste Management control of most of Chicago's recycling.

    Lou Phillips, business manager of Laborers Local 1001, told the Sun-Times he heard the city would be divided into six zones. Waste Management would handle four of them. Dumpster supplier Brackenbox would get at least one.

    The deal, which needs a two-thirds vote by the City Council, would help provide curbside recycling to more than 350,000 homes without it. 

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    But Phillips wants to keep the work in-house and says privatizing the program might lead to fees for residents.

    “The citizens will be left holding the bag," he told the Sun-Times.

    Phillips lobbied aldermen to impose a $10 monthly fee for recycling pickups to fund the switch to curbside recycling.