Chicago’s black and blue carts have been the city’s waste management workhorses. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago generates more than 4 million tons of material waste annually. A new, highly anticipated report recommends a number of strategies aimed at keeping more of that trash out of landfills.

(WTTW News)

Less than 9% of the trash produced every year by Chicago residents is kept out of landfills — a rate that has not budged for four years. 

(WTTW News)

Longtime Chicago Ald. Roman Pucinski once said, “There’s nothing as crucial to an alderman as garbage.” So how did garbage cans become a source and symbol of political power in this city? Geoffrey Baer talks trash.

Rendering of the proposed Chicago zero-waste marketplace called Zaste. (Courtesy of Zaste)

Buying in bulk and hunting down package-free items can be a challenge that often requires trips to multiple stores. To make sustainable shopping more accessible, two Chicago sisters plan to open a zero-waste marketplace by spring 2020.

Chicago sustainability advocate Stephanie Katsaros

In many ways, modern American life is set up for convenience and speed – and that can generate a lot of garbage. What you can do at home to reduce your waste output.

(Brian Johnson and Dane Kantner / Flickr)

Chicago’s recycling woes have been well-documented, but a new report shows that at least five other cities in Illinois are failing to meet average U.S. recycling rates.

(Erica Gunderson / Chicago Tonight)

Keeping the river clean is no easy task, particularly during the summer months when the river is bustling. We spend a morning with one of Chicago’s trash-scooping river skimmers. 

Confused about when the city makes blue cart pickups? You can now look up recycling and garbage pickup schedules online as Chicago looks to boost its dismal recycling rate. 

Inspector General Joe Ferguson joins us to talk about his latest audit battle with City Hall. Mayor Rahm Emanuel claims his new grid-based garbage collection system saved Chicago $18 million, but Ferguson, who wants to verify those numbers, says he is being stonewalled and told to reapply for his job. Watch web extra video and read the IG's audit report.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to dump the way garbage is currently collected. Elizabeth Brackett talks with two aldermen who give us their take on the Mayor's latest cost savings plan.