Clark St. recycling bins to remain available for public
November 2, 2017

As the City removes recycling bins in public areas, among the few recycling drop-off facilities that will remain open to the public sits in the South Loop at 1728 S. Clark St. Both Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) and Sara McGann, spokesperson for the Department of Streets and Sanitation, confirmed recycling bins will remain at that location, available for residents and not for business or commercial use.

For a while, the City situated the Clark Street bins at the far northern edge of a gravel lot, making it difficult for people to walk with their recyclables and raising concerns about potential damage to cars. City workers recently moved the bins back towards the front.

“The location remains open to accommodate recyclables from residents,” said McGann. “We will eventually remove the remaining dumpsters. We are just not at that point yet.”

Residents can find recycling locations at The City advises residents to contact sites in advance to ensure they are open and available to accept recyclables. “Recycling bins in public areas are being phased out,” McGann said, in response to a City ordinance that took effect in January to promote private recycling bins. McGann stated the City created public recycling centers only as a temporary measure until it could initiate its current recycling program.

“In 2013, Mayor Rahm Emanuel expanded the Blue Cart Recycling Program to provide every household in Chicago with a recycling option,” McGann explained. “In 2017, the City also implemented a highrise ordinance so that building tenants would have the same opportunity to recycle, requiring building owners to provide recycling services to occupants and tenants. In addition to these resources, the City maintains several drop-off centers where residents can dispose of acceptable recycling.”

Gail Merritt of the Greener South Loop organization noted the City has begun a recycling educational initiative because the blue recycling bins are smaller than the public bins it is removing. For more information on what is recyclable, visit

Single-family houses and buildings with four or fewer units may request recycling bins from the City by calling 311 and may have as many bins as the owners believe they need.

The Transportation Building at 600 S. Dearborn St. is among those implementing the new program for larger residential structures. According to property manager Kevin Horwitz, this 294-unit building converted to single-stream recycling, which collects all recyclables without sorting and separates them later; the highrise contracts with Lakeshore Waste for recycling. Larger residential buildings such as the transportation building provide multiple bins for residents’ use, said Merritt.

Some worry larger recyclables will not fit in private recycling bins. For single-family houses and smaller buildings with private recycling bins, McGann said residents should collapse large cartons and place them next to or under the bins, preferably on the day of or the evening preceding the recycling pick-up.

—Marie Balice-Ward