Chicago’s Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) has announced Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS), Morton Grove, Illinois, will assume residential recycling collection services in four of Chicago’s six recycling regions beginning this June, while DSS crews will continue services in two areas.
According to a news release from DSS and LRS, four companies submitted bids, and the lowest bidder, LRS, was selected for the three-year contract. DSS says the contract is for $79.6 million and that the department is working with partners to ensure a smooth transition and no service interruptions are expected.
The city and company report that LRS has “more recycling assets than any other company in the Chicago area, including a state-of-the-art single-stream recycling facility that can sort cardboard, mixed paper, glass, steel, other metals and plastics.”
“We are excited to partner with the city of Chicago,” says Joshua Connell, managing partner of LRS. “We look forward to providing reliable recycling collection services and increased recycling rates for the city of Chicago and its residents.”
As part of the contract, LRS will collect recycling with less than 50 percent contamination. A spokesperson from the city of Chicago told Recycling Today that LRS will submit daily reports on contaminated carts with more than 50 percent contamination levels with photographic evidence. The spokesperson says the city will also have field staff to monitor contamination levels.
“The Department of Streets and Sanitation remains committed to supporting waste diversion efforts,” says Chicago Commissioner John Tully. “The contract allows for penalties for missed collection and has a greater clarification around contamination. We believe these will help improve recycling rates.”
A contract following this three-year contract will be guided by the results of a citywide waste study led by the Mayor’s Office, in partnership with Delta Institute, which is expected to be released later this quarter. The city says the study reviews current waste- and recycling-related policies, contracts, data and infrastructure. The study will guide the development of a framework for further improving recycling and waste diversion, including in commercial and high-density residential settings.
A spokesperson for the city tells Recycling Today that it hopes the study provides recommendations for all the city's material management to inform and improve recycling and waste diversion for residential, commercial and high-density residential settings.
Additionally, DSS and the Chicago Department of Public Health received a grant from the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) to work on food waste reduction in 2021. The Food Matters project at NRDC partners with cities to achieve reductions in food waste through policies and programs.