En­forc­ing re­cy­cling would be win-win

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - PERSPECTIV­E -

Chicago’s poor rep­u­ta­tion for re­cy­cling is no se­cret.

The city passed an or­di­nance in 1993 mak­ing own­ers of build­ings with five or more units re­spon­si­ble for set­ting up their own re­cy­cling. The more re­cent and ro­bust Re­cy­cling Or­di­nance went into ef­fect on Jan. 1, 2017. This or­di­nance out­lines fines for non­com­pli­ance rang­ing from $500 up to $5,000.

So, the own­ers of mul­tiu­nit res­i­den­tial build­ings and small busi­nesses have had more than 27 years to in­sti­tute re­cy­cling, yet it is com­mon to find large build­ings with­out any re­cy­cling ser­vice. A key rea­son why many build­ing own­ers do not com­ply is that the or­di­nance is rarely en­forced. Cities that have suc­cess­ful re­cy­cling pro­grams nur­ture a cul­ture of con­ser­va­tion, sus­tain­abil­ity and clear, rig­or­ously en­forced reg­u­la­tions.

Given that our city is sorely in need of new in­come streams, all build­ings should be nudged into com­pli­ance. It costs tax­pay­ers when res­i­den­tial blue bins are stuffed to over­flow­ing be­cause ten­ants of mul­tiu­nit build­ings who want to re­cy­cle look for blue bins as­signed to homes. And tons of re­cy­clable trash from larger build­ings end­ing up in our land­fills is a dis­grace. Re­cy­cling is an in­vest­ment in our col­lec­tive fu­ture.

Have the city in­spec­tors take a look, give land­lords ci­ta­tions, col­lect the fees, com­pel com­pli­ance with the law: It’s a win-win sit­u­a­tion. It’s that sim­ple. — Joanne M. May, Chicago

HEATHER CHARLES/CHICAGO TRI­BUNE 2013

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