Chicago not enforcing recycling laws for big buildings, BGA finds

ByABC 7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, December 12, 2020
Chicago not enforcing recycling laws for big buildings, BGA finds
A Better Government Association report found Chicago is not enforcing recycling laws for big buildings.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago has not been enforcing recycling laws for big buildings, according to a Better Government Association report.

Investigative reporter Madison Hopkins joined ABC 7 Chicago Saturday to talk about what's going on.

She also did a 2019 investigation on the recycling regulations on Chicago's 77,000 big buildings

The Inspector General released a report finding that Chicago has made no attempt to enforce its rules requiring big buildings to recycle, according to the BGA.

The IG audit, and BGA investigation, looked at how the city has enforced a 2017 ordinance that all buildings with five units or more offer recycling services for tenants. While recycling has been required for decades, this rule upped fines for building owners who flouted the law and put in place new reporting requirements for trash and recycling haulers. Three years later, neither goal has been accomplished, according to the BGA.

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"We found that the Department of Streets and Sanitation has only ever inspected a tiny percentage of the nearly 77,000 buildings this affects. What's more, city officials only handed out three citations and one fine under the ordinance because of a technical problem in their computer systems," Hopkins said. "As a result, no one has ever paid the increased fines that were promised as part of the 2017 rules and the city has no idea how many big buildings still go without recycling services."

In 2018, the BGA investigated Chicago's blue cart recycling program for small residential buildings and found the city has the lowest residential recycling rate out of any other major city in the country.

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