Hey Mick,

I just finished reading your article on the Blue Bag program [“The Awful Truth About Recycling in Chicago,” July 21]. Much to my dismay, it just proved my skepticism, which I had when I moved here. I first moved here about four years ago and had contacted, I believe, a lady in the sanitation department. I thought that I would just go to the proverbial horse’s mouth. I figured they would tell me exactly how to start up my recycling program here in the city and even asked, “Is this BS or is it actually going to get recycled?” Of course she commended the program. So I bought my three garbage cans and my blue bags and blah, blah, blah.

I was wondering, though, if you could possibly help me in maybe a follow-up article, if you will, letting consumers know of some alternative recycling programs we can participate in here and now. Not a paper trail of letters to the “whoever,” just how do I separate it and where do I take it?

Sherrlia D. Bailey

Wicker/Humboldt Park

Mick Dumke replies:

The simplest option is to separate your paper, plastic, glass, and metals and take them to a privately run recycling drop-off center. The Chicago Recycling Coalition has a good list of them, as well as the materials each one accepts, on its Web site, www.chicagorecycling.org. (Click on the “Recycling in Chicago” bar on the left, then the “Where Can I Recycle?” bar.) At least one nonprofit organization, the Resource Center, also offers curbside pickup service, charging customers a fee that covers costs. Go to www.resourcecenterchicago.org/recycling.html or call 773-821-1351. If you’re more ambitious and live in a condo or an apartment building with more than four units, you can try setting up your own recycling program. The Recycling Coalition Web site has an excellent step-by-step explanation of how to do this; click on the “Recycling in Chicago” bar, then on “Apartment and Business Recycling.”