Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration has allowed a private city recycling hauler to divert tons of plastics and paper from residences to landfills the company owns, costing taxpayers twice and adding to Chicago’s worst-in-the-nation recycling rate. As a result, residents of the Northwest Side and Far South Side — areas where Texas-based Waste Management holds city recycling contracts — are far more likely to have the plastic, glass and metals they put out to be recycled instead end up in a garbage dump than other Chicagoans. Under city rules, one plastic bag or food item improperly placed in a recycling bin could mean the whole bin is labeled “grossly contaminated” with improper items and its contents taken to a landfill. Waste Management is the only city of Chicago recycling hauler that also operates a for-profit landfill — where roughly 15 percent of the city’s garbage is dumped. That means the company — which gets recycling fees from City Hall whether its crews pick up a bin or tag it as contaminated — is again paid when the tagged bins are taken by city trash crews to its landfill, an investigation by the Better Government Association found. Since 2014, private and city… Read full this story
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