HOME      ABOUT CRC      RECYCLING YOUR STUFF         ADVOCACY     REDUCE AND REUSE      CONTACT US      JOIN US            Don't trash the city!

Become a fan on

Stop Your Red Plum Delivery!

To stop getting deliveries of all unsolicited Chicago Tribune publications such as Hoy, RedPlum and Shop Local, contact Ron Buss, Operations Manager at the Chicago Tribune.  Ron will see that requests to stop these deliveries are executed immediately, his contact info is 312-222-2928 and his email is This service is the result of a lawsuit by a group of frustrated Logan Square and Avondale residents. For the full story, read the article by CRC board member Carter O'Brien in the middle column.

What Can You Recycle and Where?
Recycling from A to Z
City of Chicago Recycling
        blue carts and multi-units
        drop-off centers

What Can You Reduce and Reuse?

Online exchange options
Buying sustainable products and products made from recycled materials

What CRC initiatives can you support?

This site is under construction. For now, learn about CRC actions by signing up for the CRC Newsletter or becoming a fan on Facebook.

Computers ( laptop, notebook, netbook, tablet )
Electronic Keyboards
Facsimile Machines
Videocassette Recorders
Portable Digital Music Players
Digital Video Disc Players
Video Game Consoles
Small Scale Servers
Electronic Mice
Digital Converter Boxes
Cable Receivers
Satellite Receivers
Digital Video Disc Recorders

How to Recycle Your Underwear

We all know that it’s better to reduce what we consume, and avoid the question of how to recycle things altogether; however, we also know that sometimes it’s not practical to do without. In the case of underwear, if “going commando” isn’t for you . . . more

Recycling in Chicago
without you!

Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to watch three hours of television. That's according to

CRC research
shows way to future
The Chicago Recycling Coalition has created five issue papers that provide specific and practical measures that the Emmanuel administration could take to improve recycling, promote reuse and reduction, and capture the benefits of a strong recycling sector in every neighborhood in the city.

Click on the subject of each paper, below, to read the document.



You have a three week window to get yard waste picked up in
the City of Chicago:

November 3-21, 2014 -
but you must call 3-1-1

From the City of Chicago website:

"On Saturday, November 8, 2014, Chicagoans can join a two decade long tradition of teaming up with community groups and the City of Chicago to help beautify your communities by cleaning up and recycling fall leaves and other yard debris... By cleaning up leaves and other debris, you can help keep storm drains and curb lanes clear before snowfall this winter benefiting your whole community...

  • From November 3, through November 21, 2014, residents can call 311 to request bagged leaf and yard waste collection.

  • A Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) truck will collect leaves and other yard waste separately based on the 311 calls and take the yard waste to be composted.

  • Collection will occur during the week it is called into 311.

  • Residents should bag the yard waste separately from garbage in the black carts and recycling in the Blue Carts.

  • Residents should leave the bagged yard waste in the alley or on the curb for collection.

As a reminder, yard waste should not be thrown in the Blue Cart as it contaminates the recycling stream.

More information from the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation.

Brown Bag Eco Tours
Recycling Waste and Landfills

"It may be nasty," says Tom Shepherd, CRC board member and president of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, "but it really is fascinating to see how Chicago handles its waste from the comfort of a high-riding coach bus. The curious thing is that mountainous landfills, recycling centers, and sludge drying fields co-exist with a healthy wildlife population."

The SETF bus tour highlights recycling, composting, sewage treatment and repurposed landfills. It tells the story of legacy landfilling as well as one of hopeful transformation.

The tour departs from the Chicago Cultural Center at 10:00am sharp and returns back by 2:00pm. Tourists are invited to bring a "brown bag" lunch.

The next tour:

Saturday, August 9, 2014
The Cultural Center
Randolph and Michigan
10:00am to 2:00pm
$25 per person
Register at
(Last day to register is Monday, August 4, 2014.
Call 773-646-0436 for more information.

Had It with RedPlum? You're Not Alone
by Carter O'Brien, LEED Green Associate

In May of this year, a group of frustrated Logan Square and Avondale residents joined in a class action suit against the Chicago Tribune, alleging that unwanted deliveries of advertising mailers were both encouraging home invasions and were also an environmental nuisance.

Chicago Recycling Coalition board member Carter O'Brien was one of the two dozen plaintiffs, and the case was ultimately settled out of court.  The settlement reached included a contribution to the CRC. The Tribune also agreed to dedicate a staff member here in Chicago to handle stop deliveries of all unsolicited Chicago Tribune publications such as Hoy, RedPlum and Shop Local.

The CRC will use the contribution to improve/maintain the CRC's website and social media, including using the website to list the Tribune stop delivery contact information. It currently is Ron Buss, Operations Manager at the Chicago Tribune.  Ron will see that requests to stop these deliveries are executed immediately, his contact info is 312-222-2928 and his email is .

The advantage of listing this information publicly on the CRC website is that the Tribune is less likely to backslide, and should Mr. Buss be reassigned, the company reorganized, etc., the CRC pledges to keep the pressure on the Tribune to furnish a new contact to perform this service.

Background information/media coverage can be found below. Our thanks to Michael Miner at Chicago Reader and CBS2 Chicago for reporting on this issue, and even the Chicago Tribune, for doing its due diligence in reporting on the lawsuit in its own newspaper.

Chicago residents file suit to stop delivery of free ad papers

Chicago Tribune Sued over Shoppers

Red Plum Forever Whether Tribune Subscribers Like It Or Not

The recycling map and schedule for blue cart recycling.

Recycling Numbers from the City
Click to see the latest recycling numbers from the City of Chicago.


For more than twenty years, Chicago's authority on reducing, reusing, recycling and advocating for sound resource management

The Chicago Recycling Coalition is an organization of people just like you who believe that effective recycling and reuse programs are integral to a healthy environment. For more than two decades, we have provided recycling education and information to Chicago's citizens while advocating sound recycling policies for our city, county, and state.

For more information about CRC, click here.  To get an occasional e-newsletter . . .

Join Our Mailing List

Read Blue into Green White Paper to see that we've been talking about this for awhile.
Check out the Chicago Recycling Timeline
to see the history of recycling in the city.

Chicago aldermen vote to ban plastic bags
Chicago Tribune, April 30, 2014

"The Chicago City Council today voted 36-10 to ban plastic bags in most stores next year, a change that backers say will improve the city's environment . . ." more

Will We Ever Have a Real Plastic Bag Ordinance?
by Mike Nowak, President of CRC

Six years ago, in 2008, I testified before a Chicago City Council committee about finding a solution to the scourge of single-use plastic bags. At that time, the Council opted to enact a recycling ordinance that required retailers to display bins and signs to encourage citizens to bring their plastic bags back to the store for recycling.

Aside from the usual supermarket displays, which were already in use, not much changed in Chicago. The ordinance, which is still on the books, quietly disappeared from sight. There has been no enforcement and no accountability.

On March 25 of 2014, I once again appeared before City Council, this time to testify about a proposed ordinance to ban plastic bags outright. Here are some background statistics on the issue:

  • Approximately 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That’s more than one million bags per minute.
  • The Worldwatch Institute estimates that in the U.S. alone, an estimated 12 million barrels of non-renewable petroleum oil are required to produce the 100 billion bags consumed annually, at a cost of $500 million.
  • 60,000 plastic bags are used in the U.S. every five seconds.
  • 2,568 plastic bags are used every minute in Chicago alone, which is 3.7 million plastic each day, and about 3 billion bags every year.

We’ve turned our oceans and our Great Lakes into plastic soup. In some parts of the ocean there are six pounds of plastic for every pound of plankton. The plastic bag has appeared in so many trees that it has replaced the eagle as our national bird. MORE

Chicago Checkout Bag Ordinance

Nine months after the Chicago Checkout Bag Ordinance was first introduced by 1st Ward Alderman Proco Joe Moreno before the Committee and Health and Environmental Protection of the Chicago City Council in June of last year, the ordinance was the subject of another hearing on March 25 of 2014.

The Chicago Recycling Coalition supports a ban on plastic bags but thinks that Alderman Moreno's ordinance is flawed in several ways:

  • It does not allow for a fee on paper and other bags. Studies have repeatedly shown that a fee on bags is the best way to modify the behavior of consumers. Otherwise, they will take whatever is free.
  • Without a fee, retailers will be forced to purchase more paper bags, which places the burden of plastic bag ban on them. The proceeds from a fee could be pumped back into the businesses or used for environmental causes or both.
  • The current ordinance allows for "compostable plastic bags." Those bags behave no differently from plastic bags in our environment. They still get caught in trees, in sewer grates and cause harm to wildlife. Furthermore, they can be composted properly only in commercial composting operations.

Meanwhile, here's a sampling of how the latest version of the plastic bag reduction ordinance was received by the media:

Make your voice heard. Call your alderman, find their position and weigh in with your own stance. Find your ward and alderman here.


Click here for background on recycling in Chicago.

Previously . . .
Emanuel rolls out plan to take blue-cart recycling citywide
(Chicago Sun-Times, February 22, 2013)

Household recycling to expand
(Chicago Tribune, February 20, 2013)

Citywide Expansion of Blue Cart Recycling Begins
(City of Chicago Press Release, February 20, 2013)

Huge increase in amount of electronics being recycled in 2012 (, January 10, 2013)

Governor gives Grayslake girl good news on plastic bag ban
(Chicago Tribune, August 27, 2012)

Blue-cart recycling expands to all city neighborhoods
(Chicago Sun-Times, 4/5/2012

Emanuel: Rest of city will get curbside recycling by end of 2013 (Chicago Tribune, 4/5/2012)

Chicago Mayor Promises Citywide Recycling in 2013,

Managed Competition

On July 18, the City of Chicago website proclaimed: Mayor Emanuel Announces Plan to Make Recycling More Cost Effective. The story, which was quickly picked up by local and national media, was about how the mayor was introducing “managed competition” to the administrative debacle that has been recycling in Chicago for more than twenty years. more . . .
City of Chicago announcement
Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Tribune
Huffington Post
Progress Illinois


Why Can't Chicago Recycle? (Chicago Reader, 7/22/2010)

City may wash hands of curbside recycling (Chicago Sun-Times, 6/16/2010)

More Ridiculousness on City Recycling(Chicago Reader, 6/15/2010)

Chicago Blue Carts (, 6/9/2010)

Aldermen discuss expansion of recycling program (Chicago Sun-Times, 6/8/2010)

Aldermen vent on stalled recycling program but don't reach agreement (Chicago Tribune, 6/8/2010)

How far will YOU go to recycle? (redeye, 6/7/2010)

Aldermen push for more blue cart recycling (Chicago Current, 6/7/2010

Chicago launching new effort to get residents to recycle (Chicago Tribune, 6/4/2010)


City to privatize recycling; deliver curb-side service to households
Chicago Sun-Times, 3/31/2011

Environmentalists salute Daley, challenge next mayor to do more, Chicago Tribune

Gary Chico says ads, not fees
Chico: Use regional grids, truck and cart ads to pay for recycling
Chicago Sun-Times, 12/17/2010

Rahm Emanuel says it's all about competition in the world of trash.
Rahm Emanuel talks trash -- in good way
Chicago Sun-Times, 11/9/2010

Daley says privatization. Will he be the one to decide?
To improve recycling, will Chicago turn to privatization?
Christian Science Monitor, 10/23/2010

The mayor talks about privatization. Mike asks if we're sure we want to give away recyclables in a market where their value is likely to increase. Let's talk about this.
Chicago vs. USA: The state of recycling
Chicago redeye, 9/23/10

The Laborers Union suggests a recycling fee. CRC's Mike Nowak asks whether politicians will even consider the proposal in an election year.
Laborers Union proposes $10 recycling fee
Chicago Sun-Times, 9/21/2010