The Chicago Recycling Coalition is a non-profit organization that champions environmentally and fiscally sound management of solid waste through research, education, and advocacy, emphasizing waste reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, and buying recycled.
Back in the early 1980s, the Chicago Recycling Coalition first began as the Coalition for Appropriate Waste Disposal. One of our initial efforts was advocating for a landfill moratorium in Chicago. It was passed by the City Council in 1984 and is still in effect. Another successful campaign was in the mid-nineties, when we worked together with other community groups to shut down Chicago’s last municipal waste incinerator. (For more history, see our Chicago Recycling Timeline .)
In the early nineties, we also advocated for responsible source-separated municipal recycling programs for the city. The result? An excellent recycling ordinance was passed for commercial buildings and larger apartment complexes. But at the same time, the City Council, under pressure from Mayor Daley, instituted the blue bag program, which asked residents to mix bags of garbage and recycling together in one bin.
We won that battle. The city began the change to blue cart recycling in May of 2008, and expanded it citywide in 2013. Now we have the job of ensuring that the blue cart program is functioning as intended, as well as ensuring that buildings with 5 or more units are providing recycling options as they are required to per the “Chicago High Density Residential and Commercial Source Reduction and Recycling Ordinance.”
The Chicago Recycling Coalition is on Facebook. Click here to go to our page.
We also work to serve the community in an educational and advisory capacity. As local and county governments wrestle with ever more waste and rising disposal costs, we are frequently asked to share our expertise on issues ranging from institutional recycling programs to the purchase of recycled products. For the media, we are regularly contacted as a reliable source of recycling history, political insights, and hard facts.
Today we continue to educate and advocate through our newsletter, website, and special events. We’re not a huge organization, and all of us are volunteers. But that doesn’t keep us from consistently and effectively promoting responsible source-separated recycling and composting for Chicago’s residents, businesses, and schools. We encourage you to join us in these efforts!
CRC archive data is housed at the Chicago History Museum’s Research Center and can be found here.
Board of Directors
Board members serve as individuals, not as organizational representatives.
Illinois Institute of Technology, Institute of Design/Stuart School
Shel Beugen, Treasurer
Cresta Creative and SourcePoint Ltd.
Center for Neighborhood Technology
Carter O’Brien, Vice President
Field Museum of Natural History
Illinois Center of Sustainable Technology
Community Organizer, Consultant and Trainer
Matthew A. Shapiro, Secretary
Illinois Institute of Technology
Michelle Thoma, President