Chicago Plans to Collect Garbage on a Grid System

The budget Mayor Rahm Emanuel presented earlier this month has several implications for environmental services in the city.  Aside from eliminating the city’s Department of Environment on January 1, 2012, this budget also attempts to reshape the city’s garbage pickup system.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first budget proposal will include increases in fines and fees and the closure of three district police stations….

Increased fines would be attached to crimes related to drunken driving and illegal gun toting, the sources said. One proposed new fee would relate to loading zone permits.

Emanuel also would boost the city share of the hotel tax by a percentage point, to 4.5 percent. And there would be an extra fee for parking in downtown garages during rush hour that is part of a “congestion pricing plan,” the sources said.

The budget also would rely on declaring a relatively modest surplus in the city’s special taxing districts, the sources said. Sometime next year, the city also would move to pick up garbage based on a grid system, a step that could save tens of millions of dollars a year, the sources said.

Currently, Chicago’s garbage is picked up ward by ward, dividing the city’s routes into 50 areas; a grid system would consolidate the system considerably. A downtown version of Roosevelt University’s seminar SUST 240 Waste will likely be offered in Fall 2012, and it is likely the course will evaluate how these proposed changes are working. For more information on the seminar or any other of our courses, visit our Sustainability Studies website, call 1-877-277-5978 (1-877-APPLY RU) or email

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