Alderman Proposes Canceling Free Trash Pickup To Apartment Buildings

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Jun 17, 2015 8:55PM

It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to make the city's budget cuts. In a bid to save the city as much as $3.3 million a year, an alderman is proposing an end to the city's free trash-hauling services to residential buildings.

The city has been providing garbage pickup at no cost to over 1,800 apartment buildings since 2010, when a changing city ordinance first required larger buildings to pay for private trash haulers, according to the Tribune, but allowed some to continue using the city's services free of charge.

Under a plan introduced to the City Council by Ald. Matthew O'Shea (19th) Wednesday, those buildings would have 90 days to find a private hauler once the ordinance takes effect. O'Shea has said he was inspired by a March Inspector General report that found the city was spending millions of dollars a year on its trash program for these buildings, and that the policy should be seen as "low-hanging fruit" in the effort to fix the city's $1 billion budget deficit.

Though the city's policy post-2010 has been to stop serving residential buildings with free pickup once their ownership changes hands, there's been little oversight or enforcement.

The city already requires most buildings with more than five residential units to provide their own recycling services, but keeps no records of how many buildings are actually complying with that law. According to an open-sourced data project, called "My Building Doesn't Recycle!" at least 1,586 residential buildings have been flagged by residents as potentially being out of compliance with the law.