The Recycling Report

Re: “Why Can’t Chicago Recycle? A world-class city, a ‘green’ mayor—what’s the problem? Insiders say the city’s budget woes are only part of the story,” by Mick Dumke, July 22

I have to walk a block and a half (breaking the law, I now suppose) to the nearest blue bins in my neighborhood (Humboldt Park), usually only to find it filled with nonrecyclable trash. I often have to open four or five bins to find one that is actually being used as a container for recyclables. I can’t imagine that any of this stuff is ever getting recycled—are they paying someone to go through and separate all the recyclables from the trash? Are other Chicago neighborhoods like this? I talk to my neighbors about it and it’s clear they view the blue bins as different-colored trash bins. Sometimes it seems like people are trying to generate more trash than normal just to fill them! —brynsta

I’m reading this story and I’m thinking how completely out of touch Mr. Dumke is with reality. If people are upset there is nowhere to put the glass bottle that once contained the salsa they bought, why don’t they make their own salsa? If they’re “frustrated” they have to throw their empty plastic Coke containers in with the rest of the trash, don’t drink Coke. Drink water. Make your own damn sugar water soda pop. The city is not perfect. There are other things about which to write. This, however, is not that big of a deal. —deadfish

[Deadfish’s] comment is a perfect example of why this city has poor progression. The people don’t care! Hell, I just moved here from Seattle (renowned for its recycling system), recycling is in my blood, and now I’m starting not to care! It’s viral apathy. Progression starts within the individual, spreads through community, becomes standard throughout the next of kin, then becomes second nature! Just like anything else that has been hard for the human race to change.

There are few solutions to Chicago’s recycling retardation. One, the obvious, wipe the political scum veiling the people from the truth(s). The other, communities stop relying on their mayor/aldermen and start relying on themselves. Start their own recycling groups/systems/centers. Think of that for a second! How many individuals already take their own initiative for their recycling? Now combine those efforts into small recycling centers throughout the city’s neighborhoods, let them integrate, and voila, something the mayor can’t ignore or brush off! —mosspassion

“We prefer the carrot over the stick.” Are you kidding me! Does Chicago prefer the carrot over the stick when it gives people $75 parking tickets for being two minutes over the meter? Does it prefer carrots when it gives cash-strapped residents $100 red light tickets for inching over the white line at a turn on red? How about not getting a building permit or not paying for a vehicle city sticker? . . .

My high-rise building has an outstanding single-bin recycling system, initiated in part by working with Ald. Schiller. Every Chicago property should have such a system. It’s outrageous that Chicago won’t enforce this law and fine properties that don’t comply. I should remember that the next time I get fined by the city for X or Y violation. I’ll demand a similar carrot. —Spektor

The story fails to mention anything about the Chicago Park District’s feeble attempts to recycle. While the CPD has recycling bins in all of their parks, I’ve observed on a number of occasions private disposal trucks dumping all waste bins (recycling & regular trash) into the same truck. I’ve seen this happen at three different parks in the city—Humboldt, Lake Meadows & Athletic Field. I called the Chicago Park District several times and, quite surprisingly, they promptly returned my phone calls. They told me that after looking into the matter (I gave them the exact days and times I witnessed this) they determined that in all instances they were “mistakes” by the disposal company, that all bins were accidentally thrown into the same truck. One question I had after all of this was, why aren’t Streets & Sanitation trucks responsible for picking up trash from city parks? Why are private companies being paid to do this? The people at the parks department didn’t have an answer for me on that one. —Joel W.

Why did the author fail to mention the trial program going on in Wards 5, 8 and 19 with the private company Recyclebank? This looks promising—they offer citizens reward points for recycling (they put an RFID chip on the carts and weigh them, with specially outfitted trucks, as they pick up the recycling). Those points can be ‘spent’ in an online mall ( for coupons at grocery stores, retailers, etc. This saves the city money and recycling rates go through the roof (at least they have in most cities that have this program). Would love to hear an update on how it’s going. —Chris R


Re: “What the Phuck? Liz Phair’s last defenders confront the indefensible,” by Jessica Hopper, July 22

OK, I’ll defend her. When I first heard “Bollywood,” yes, I was horrified. But I’ve listened to it many times since, and it’s really grown on me. “And He Slayed Her,” from the same album, is the best Liz Phair song in a long, long time.

From the title on down, Funstyle is a throwback to Ms. Phair’s Girlysound days. The note on her website simply explains that, rather than try to sound like Avril Lavigne (the self-titled album) or Sheryl Crow (Somebody’s Miracle), she’s back to following her own muse. —Pitbull in a Basement

As ill-advised and as poorly done as it is, Liz Phair’s rapping is confined to exactly one song, “Bollywood,” on her new album. Granted she made a point to lead with “Bollywood” but I don’t think anyone should be under the impression that she will heretofore be filed between Old Dirty Bastard and Q-Tip in the hip-hop section of your local whatever-passes- for-a-record-store these days. —rick

Is this a review of the album or the song? Or white people rapping? —Pat Daly

Some good could come of this if “Bollywood” forces prosecutors to re-open the books on Lou Reed’s 1986 rap-related crimes on the album Mistrial. —Cliff Doerksen