about us


The Chicago Recycling Coalition champions environmentally and fiscally sound management of solid waste through research, education, and advocacy, emphasizing waste reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, and buying recycled.

Back in the early 1980s, the Chicago Recycling Coalition first began as the Coalition for Appropriate Waste Disposal. One of our initial efforts was advocating for a landfill moratorium in Chicago. It was passed by the City Council in 1984 and is still in effect. Another successful campaign was in the mid-nineties, when we worked together with other community groups to shut down Chicago's last municipal waste incinerator. (For more history, see our Chicago Recycling Timeline .)

In the early nineties, we also advocated for responsible source-separated municipal recycling programs for the city. The result? An excellent recycling ordinance was passed for commercial buildings and larger apartment complexes. But at the same time, the City Council, under pressure from Mayor Daley, instituted the blue bag program, which asked residents to mix bags of garbage and recycling together in one bin.

We won that battle. The city began the change to blue cart recycling in May of 2008. But budget constraints seem to have halted the roll out. Now we have the job of seeing that a good system becomes available to the whole city--and not in a decade, but now.

The Chicago Recycling Coalition in now on Facebook. Click here to go to go to our page .

We also work to serve the community in an educational and advisory capacity. As local and county governments wrestle with ever more waste and rising disposal costs, we are frequently asked to share our expertise on issues ranging from institutional recycling programs to the purchase of recycled products. For the media, we are regularly contacted as a reliable source of recycling history, political insights, and hard facts.

Today we continue to educate and advocate through our newsletter, website, and special events. We're not a huge organization, and all of us are volunteers. But that doesn't keep us from consistently and effectively promoting responsible source-separated recycling and composting for Chicago's residents, businesses, and schools. We encourage you to join us in these efforts!



Board of Directors

Board members serve as individuals, not as organizational representatives.

Shel Beugen
Cresta Creative and SourcePoint Ltd.

Adam Goldstein
Center for Neighborhood Technology

Mike Nowak, President
"The Mike Nowak Show," WCPT 820AM

Carter O'Brien
Field Museum of Natural History

Julie Samuels
Community Organizer, Consultant and Trainer

Matthew A. Shapiro
Illinois Institute of Technology

Tom Shepherd
Southeast Environmental Task Force

Anthony Star, Treasurer

Michelle Thoma
Elevate Energy

Betsy Vandercook, Secretary
Ward 49, City of Chicago

Carl Zimring
Pratt Institute, New York