The DePaulia

Filed under News

Chicago slowly sinks, leading to a number of city-wide issues

Graphic+by+Annalisa+Baranowski+for+the+DePaulia+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Chicago slowly sinks, leading to a number of city-wide issues

Graphic by Annalisa Baranowski for the DePaulia

Graphic by Annalisa Baranowski for the DePaulia

Graphic by Annalisa Baranowski for the DePaulia

Graphic by Annalisa Baranowski for the DePaulia

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






For the past few years, Chicago has been recognized for having extremely low recycling rates, with a 9.7 percent rate recorded in 2017.

Independent Recycling Services, a family owned waste and recycling hauler founded in the 1970s, said part of this comes from the lack of knowledge in terms of how the recycling process works and what is considered contamination.

Independent Recycling Services differs from corporate waste management companies in that they don’t own a landfill, so they profit from sorting out recyclable material, reducing the amount they would otherwise have to pay other companies in transfer fees for trash to be transported to a landfill.

Essentially, the recycling industry is a commodity-driven market like any other, so just because a certain material is generally known to be recyclable, doesn’t always necessarily mean it’s getting recycled.

Keisha Glover of Independent Recycling Services explained why glass is often considered contamination.

“There are certain items I always felt so confident recycling…like I’m doing my part putting glass out there because glass is one of those commodities that’s infinitely recyclable,” she said. “It didn’t even occur to me, and I work for a recycling company, that they absolutely don’t want that…it breaks. It fragments out…it just rips cardboard, paper to shreds, rendering all of that unrecyclable.”

Glover said that glass is recyclable, but often times they just say it isn’t because of the risk it poses to the other commodities it’s mixed in with. The general recommendation for glass is to separate it out, which many people don’t like to do since they’ve gotten so accustomed to the single-stream recycling system.

Electronics are another source of contamination when mixed in with regular single-stream recyclables. While they’re recyclable, they’re made up of toxic elements and are hauled separately. In the state of Illinois, it’s illegal to throw away or put electronics in with single-stream recycling materials. Rebecca Quesnell, sustainability coordinator at Independent Recycling Services said electronics are picked up by a separate company.

“It’s a totally different stream,” she said. “It can cause issues with the other recyclables and it’s counted as contamination. It can be flammable…just not a good idea to put that in there.”

Additionally, not all recycling haulers accept the exact same materials and if tenants live in buildings that recycle, but aren’t conscious of their hauler’s program, their items may not be getting recycled. For example, Independent Recycling Services is able to separate out plastic bags because they have manual sorters who separate the materials out, but there are many haulers that don’t accept them because the bags can clog their machines.

Labeling is another part of the problem, which Glover said is something the recycling industry is trying to get better about communicating.

“Sometimes you’ll see a recycling can and it’s just a bunch of text and you don’t know…can I put this here? And then you just throw it out because you don’t know what to do with it, or maybe the container itself doesn’t make sense.” 

The labeling on materials themselves can also be misleading. Quesnell explained how plastics can sometimes pose a higher risk of contamination because they are made up of a wide range of synthetic compounds. Plastic, though, is often one of the main materials people try to recycle, partly due to the numbered recycling symbol on the bottom of products like water bottles. These are actually resin codes which indicate to companies like Independent Recycling Services how desirable the plastic is.

“These resin codes identify what the product is made out of, not necessarily indicative that it can be recycled easily,” Glover said. “So the contamination risk is that we could receive a lot of plastics that may be extremely difficult to recycle.”

While some landlords still don’t provide recycling programs at all, there are some resident buildings that don’t have access to enough recycling bins to put their materials.

“What’s interesting now is say you live in a 32-unit building, you have three metal dumpsters and they’ll give one little cart for recycling,” Glover said. “In my household, the majority of what I have is recyclable so I could never understand why we have a small cart, and then big dumpsters for trash.It was almost encouraging us to just throw it away and maybe the recyclers will sort it out.”

Separating recyclables from trash doesn’t happen, although this is what many people assume happens when a recycling hauler like Independent Recycling Services picks up their trash. Glover said it’s important to make this distinction because even though they’re primarily a recycling hauler, they run two routes and recyclables aren’t sorted out from trash.

“I can attest that when it all gets compacted it gets pretty contaminated and very hard to extract value out of,” she said. “It’s nearly impossible.”

Gail Selleg, an avid recycler and Pilsen resident of 16 years, recognizes that a lot of what gets put in garbage dumpsters is recyclable and does her best to reduce this.

“I sort the garbage on one full alley that I live on,” she said. “It really reduces landfill trash quite a bit. I can usually collect at least one-third of a tall kitchen bag each week the night before recycling is picked up.”

Glover said education and communication between the industry and consumers are key parts to improving our recycling. Encouraging the other two Rs, reducing and reusing, are just as important.

“We are trying to communicate better methods to communicate how to best improve…and sometimes it’s refusing,” Glover said. “That’s one of the things we’re trying to highlight now is refusing to support packaging that isn’t readily or easily recyclable and just assuming that the hauler is able to take care of it.”

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Chicago slowly sinks, leading to a number of city-wide issues”

  1. Natasha Wanderly on March 15th, 2019 7:34 pm

    My husband breakup with me and left me to be with another woman, and i wanted him back. I was so frustrated and i could not know what next to do again, I love my husband so much but he was cheating on me with another woman and this makes him break up with me so that he can be able to get married to the other lady and this lady i think use witchcraft on my husband to make him hate me and my kids and this was so critical and uncalled-for,I cry all day and night for God to send me a helper to get back my husband!! I was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help get ex back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a love-spell for me. 28 hours later, my husband really called me and told me that he miss me so much, Oh My God! i was so happy, and today i am happy with my man again and we are joyfully living together as one big family and i thank the powerful spell caster Dr.Unity, he is so powerful and i decided to share my story on the internet that Dr.Unity is best spell caster online who i will always pray to live long to help his children in the time of trouble, if you are here and your lover is turning you down, or your husband moved to another woman, do not cry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster Dr.Unity on his email: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com ,you can also call him or add him on Whats-app: +2348071622464 .

  2. Clara James on March 16th, 2019 7:13 am

    GREAT LOVE SPELL CASTER PRIEST WISDOM THAT HELP ME SAVE MY RELATIONSHIP.TEXT OR ADD HIM UP ON WHATSAPP: +2348124644470

    My name is CLARA JAMES .i want to give thanks to PRIEST WISDOM for bringing back my ex husband.No one could have ever made me believe that the letter I’m about to write would actually one day be written. I was the world’s biggest skeptic. I never believed in magic spells or anything like this, but I was told by a reliable source (a very close co-worker) that Trust is a very dedicated, gifted, and talented person,It was one of the best things I have ever done. My love life was in shambles; I had been through two divorces and was on the brink of a third. I just couldn’t face another divorce, and I wanted to try harder to make our relationship work, but my husband didn’t seem to care. and he brake up with me again.I was confuse and do not no what to do again,rather them to get in contact with PRIEST WISDOM . He did a love spell that make my husband come back to me. we are now very much happy with our self. PRIEST WISDOM make him to realize how much we love and need each other.This man is for REAL and for good.he can also help you to fix your broken relationship. I had my husband back! It was like a miracle! He suddenly wanted to go to marriage counseling, and we’re doing very, very well,in our love life.contact email Supernaturalspell1@gmail.com text or add him up on whatsApp at: +2348124644470 …………….////

  3. Chryssy Berry from USA on March 28th, 2019 11:11 pm

    After 12years of marriage, me and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me and moved to California to be with another woman. I felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. i tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he could come back to me, I was really worried and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help get ex back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a Love spell for me. 11hours later, my husband really called me and told me that he miss me and the kids so much, So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and the kids. Then from that day,our Marriage was now stronger than how it were before, All thanks to Dr Unity. he is so powerful and i decided to share my story on the internet that Dr.Unity is real spell caster who i will always pray to live long to help his children in the time of trouble, if you are here and you need your ex lover back or save your marriage fast. Do not cry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster Dr.Unity now. Here’s his contact: Call/WhatsApp him: +2348071622464 ,Email him at: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Chicago slowly sinks, leading to a number of city-wide issues

    Campus News

    Spring Carnival brightens up DePaul

  • Chicago slowly sinks, leading to a number of city-wide issues

    Metro

    COMMENTARY: Chicago will remember Emanuel as he was, not as he wants

  • Chicago slowly sinks, leading to a number of city-wide issues

    Metro

    Potential solutions to urban flooding not attainable for communities that need them most

  • Chicago slowly sinks, leading to a number of city-wide issues

    Campus News

    Students break fast and learn about Ramadan at Interfaith Iftar

  • Chicago slowly sinks, leading to a number of city-wide issues

    Metro

    Pilsen proposes historic landmark to slow gentrification

  • Chicago slowly sinks, leading to a number of city-wide issues

    Metro

    Chicago public health department confirms measles case

  • Chicago slowly sinks, leading to a number of city-wide issues

    Metro

    Pregnant Chicago woman slain, baby cut from her womb

  • Chicago slowly sinks, leading to a number of city-wide issues

    News

    Duckworth proposes increased funding for on-campus child care

  • Chicago slowly sinks, leading to a number of city-wide issues

    Metro

    Transparency trouble: New database shows police misconduct records for Chicago and beyond

  • Chicago slowly sinks, leading to a number of city-wide issues

    Campus News

    Discussion at DePaul free speech forum falls short of compromise

Navigate Right
The Student News Site of DePaul University
Chicago slowly sinks, leading to a number of city-wide issues