Report from a recycling block captain

1st Ward residents continue to use their blue carts enthusiastically – and on behalf of the principles of resource conservation and environmental preservation, I thank you!

If you’re really recycling all you could be, you’ve probably noticed a big change in what’s going into those old black supercarts. Before the blue carts came, you may have needed two, three or even four supercarts for your building’s garbage.

Now that more than half of what you used to throw away is being recycled, your black toters are probably not being filled up. Some people have complained to me that the blue carts make the alleys “too crowded.”

Not a problem. If you find you don’t need all the black garbage carts you formerly used, the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) urges you to give them up.

When the garbage truck comes for pickup and the crews have to empty two half-filled carts, that takes twice as much time than emptying one full cart. This is a significant efficiency issue when you think about double work at thousands of households.

So, if you want to send one of your old black carts somewhere where it can fulfill its role more completely, here’s what you do.


  1. Call 311 and tell them you’d like to DSS to pick up one of your black carts. Make sure you are clear that you want it taken away instead of replaced. Remember, most of the city doesn’t have blue carts, and the operator might not immediately understand someone wants to give up a black cart. Usually people are asking for more.


  2. Turn the cart you want to have taken away upside down, resting on its lid with the wheel end in the air. This will keep it empty for until DSS comes to pick it up. (It will be a different crew than the garbage collection people.)



As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to call or email me at (773) 384-6088 or marjiei@yahoo.com. Happy recycling!