Emanuel considers a revamp of Chicago's garbage collection system

August 12, 2011

(WBEZ/Tony Arnold)
(WBEZ/Kate Dries)
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made his announcement Friday at a press conference about funding for community organizations

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday he might change the way the city collects garbage. According to Emanuel, Chicago spends too much on trash pick-up - more than $200 a ton - compared to cities like Los Angeles or Philadelphia. 

Currently, the city collects trash using a ward-by-ward program, but Emanuel said the city could save $60 million by switching to a city-wide grid system.

"Can we do it better, cheaper, and more effective? And, this is one way to look at it. Now, if somebody has a better way to find $60 million in savings, the door is open, the suggestion box is open, bring it forward," he said. 

The mayor he would not eliminate the ward superintendents, who deal with sanitation concerns in each ward. He called them "the most responsive element to a community," and said he would consider creating a new position to monitor the grid system

Emanuel reiterated his plan to revamp the city's recycling program as well, citing his desire for a "comprehensive policy" for trash collection.

"At every level of government, our city is stuck in decades' old policies we have not modernized for the 21st century," said Emanuel.