Press Release
April 5, 2012

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces Citywide Recycling in 2013

Competitive Bidding Saves $2.2 Million in Recycling Service Costs in Six Months Supporting Plan to Expand to 340,000 Additional Households
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the City of Chicago has saved $2.2 million in recycling service costs during the first six months of competitive bidding, paving the way for a complete citywide recycling expansion by the end of 2013.  In addition, the City will implement a competitive bidding process for two additional service areas – tree trimming and street marking – as outlined in the City’s 2012 budget.

“Competitive bidding for recycling services has saved taxpayer money and increased efficiencies while maintaining quality service,” said Mayor Emanuel.  “These savings and efficiencies will help to make citywide recycling in 2013 a reality and further Chicago’s reputation as leader in sustainability efforts. No longer will Chicago be a tale of two cities when it comes to recycling.”  

Beginning in 2013, the City will roll out blue cart recycling services to the 340,000 remaining households in Chicago. 

The Mayor made this announcement from the Humboldt Park Boat House, 1400 N. Sacramento Ave., in the 26th ward which is part of a 20,000 household blue cart recycling service expansion that began earlier this week, bringing the total number of Chicago households that receive recycling services to over 260,000 homes.

The current cost for providing residents recycling services for six months under competitive bidding is $4.1 million, compared to pre-competition costs of $6.3 million – a 35 percent decrease.  In addition, the savings are 10 percent greater than initially projected, thanks to cooperation between labor unions and City government to create efficiencies in the blue cart recycling program.  Since the competition began in July, the City’s crews have worked to close the gap between the private haulers’ $2.70 price per cart by reducing their costs by 35 percent from $4.77 to $3.28 per cart.

“The success of the recycling competition would not have been possible without the partnership of the unions, as well as the hard work and professionalism of both the City and private crews,” said Commissioner Thomas G. Byrne, Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation. “We look forward to the opportunity of bringing the best possible recycling services to all Chicago residents in 2013.”

Mayor Emanuel also announced the City will implement the competitive bidding process for tree-trimming and street marking. The former service is provided by the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS), while the latter is provided by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT). This expansion of competitive bidding is the implementation of the Mayor’s vision to utilize competition to provide taxpayers the best value.

The recycling competition is between two private sector companies – Sims Municipal Recycling and Waste Management – and Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation workers. The city has been divided into six zones, four of which are being serviced by the private sector companies and two that are serviced by City employees. 

The City will provide its recycling competition results and evaluation this summer.

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