The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced yesterday that it’s ponying up $40,000 to help the city of Chicago figure out how to improve recycling in high-density residential units.

City recycling coordinator Chris Sauve told 46th Ward residents at a recent public meeting that city officials were talking to the owners, managers, and residents of several Uptown high-rises to find out how they were recycling, if at all, and what they’d found effective and ineffective. The EPA said yesterday it was helping to pay for a formal study of the buildings’ waste streams. 

“The Chicago Multi-Unit Recycling Study Project is receiving $40,000 to conduct waste and recycling audits in several multi-unit residential buildings in the 46th Ward,” the EPA announced in a press release. “Waste and recycling rates as well as barriers to recycling will be studied. The pilot project will result in a best management practices tool and resource kit to be distributed to building managers throughout the city.”

The agency also announced it will contribute $20,000 to a waste-reduction “task force” among managers of Chicago’s sports arenas and stadiums, including Soldier Field, Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, the UIC Pavilion, and the United Center. The stadiums will set goals to lower their garbage production and lift their recycling numbers. 

It’s not clear–to me, at least–why these profitable operations need more money to help them do what city law already requires, but I’m guessing $20,000 in taxpayer money has been spent on worse.

Still, if it weren’t already evident that politics drive our environmental policies, here’s the last line of the EPA’s statement about the stadium task force: “This project is especially important in Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic games.”