Blue Bags Carts

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Much has been written about how ineffective Chicago’s blue bag program is. Most people, myself included, have a hard time believing that a thin layer of polyethylene will survive the gnashing claws of a garbage truck long enough to make it to some magical sorting chamber where enchanted elves separate recyclable cardboard from baby Chester’s dirty diapers. And while that process probably worked more effectively than I suggest, it offered us, the recycling public little confidence. So little, in fact, that few bothered to use blue bags.

In lieu of a civic recycling program, I hauled my cans and bottles and papers and what not to the 7-11 parking lot at Wrightwood and Lincoln (and Sheffield — three-way intersections, yo!) where The Resource Center has set up recycling bins. It was a pain. On the up side, I often ran into the founder of The Resource Center, Ken Dunn. Ken Dunn is a strange and wonderful man who has founded many strange and wonderful projects in Chicago including City Farm and Blackstone Bicycle Works. Often I’d be throwing cardboard into the truck-sized bin only to see a slight, soul-patch-ed man pop out of the pile like Scrooge McDuck in his money bin. This is a guy who was featured in a cover story for Chicago Magazine and who Mayor Daley has on his speed dial.

I remember several years ago we were chatting as he gleefully loaded trash bags full of used coffee grounds into his truck (to use as compost at City Farm.) He mentioned that Chicago’s recycling program was going to be drastically improved in the next couple years. “Yeah, right,” I thought.

Never question Ken Dunn. Look what I found behind our building a couple weeks ago:


The whole alley is now lined with brand new City of Chicago blue carts. The 46th and 47th ward, it seems, are part of the trial program, and let me tell you, the 46th and 47th wards are pretty excited about it. The suckers were packed to the gills all up and down the alley.

Here’s me breaking in my blue cart (apparently after a wild night of Squirt drinking.) And by the way, you don’t need to use blue bags — or any bags, for that matter — but I figured I wouldn’t be using them for anything else…



Chester wears cloth diapers, thank you very much!

So do I!

~ evanjacover      

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