UPDATE: City Approaches 1997 Diversion Goal

CHICAGO - As of August 1997, 21.4 percent of waste collected by Chicago's Department of Streets and Sanitation is being diverted from landfills thanks to its Blue Bag recycling program. The city's goal is to divert 25 percent by the end of this year.

Blue Bag recycling currently is at high schools and elementary schools, city parks and most major CTA rapid transit stations citywide. Since the program's inception more than 20 months ago, approximately 200,000 tons of recyclables have been collected using blue bags.

However, as the year draws to a close, officials are targeting paper recycling in order to meet Chicago's diversion goal.

"We are extremely pleased by the enthusiastic acceptance of Blue Bag recycling, especially for yard waste," says Environment Commissioner Henry L. Henderson. "Almost all of the bagged grass clippings, leaves and weeds coming into our sorting plants now are in blue bags, and numbers for all of the other recyclables also are up.

"Now we'd like Chicagoans to make an extra effort to recycle paper goods."

Clean paper - such as newspapers and magazines, "junk" mail, packaging and cardboard - comprises more than 20 percent of all household garbage collected in the city. Because paper is easy to recycle and sell, the Department of Environment (DOE) has launched a special campaign to get more paper into blue bags.

To that end, the DOE is distributing 600,000 copies of a paper recycling brochure that includes a coupon good for three free large blue bags. Residents are asked to take the coupon to the service counter of their local Jewel/Osco to receive these bags. Coupons also are available from the department.

For more information, contact: Ken Davis or Mark Farina, City of Chicago, Department of Environment, 25th Floor, 30 North LaSalle St., Chicago, Ill. 60602-2575. (312) 744-7606. Fax: (312) 744-6451. Web site: www.ci.chi.il.us