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(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.

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Masks aren't recyclable. (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control / Flickr)

Sanitation crews have been seeing a surge in coronavirus-related items placed in recycling bins. They belong in the trash.

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(Kate Ter Haar / Flickr)

In the war against plastic pollution, Illinois legislators just announced a new battle plan that would tackle the problem from multiple angles.

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The WasteShed in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. (WTTW News)

When it comes to recycling, Chicago doesn’t have the best track record. But one nonprofit on the city’s West Side is working to change that – and in the process, offer a wide range of art supplies and materials at an affordable price.

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(Erich Ferdinand / Flickr)

Hosting a more sustainable Super Bowl party can be as easy as buying snacks from the bulk bin and using cloth napkins instead of paper. Oh, and split the difference on pizza boxes.

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(WTTW News)

Is it time to hit the reset button on Chicago’s beleaguered Blue Cart recycling program? The city is preparing to conduct a study of the nation’s waste management best practices as it looks for ways to improve.

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(Oliur Rahman / Pexels)

Chicago aldermen have proposed a ban on single-use plastics and Styrofoam containers in an effort to cut down on plastic pollution. We learn more from Abe Scarr of the Illinois Public Interest Research Group, which helped craft the proposal.

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(Chris Goldberg / Flickr)

Chicago is getting tough on plastic waste. A new city ordinance would, if passed, ban Styrofoam to-go containers and reduce single-use plastic utensils.

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(Fred Faulkner / Flickr)

A resolution introduced at Wednesday’s City Council meeting calls for an emergency “climate mobilization” on a scale not seen since WWII.

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(Irene Tostado / Chicago Park District)

Trees collected through Chicago’s annual holiday tree recycling program are turned into mulch and wood chips for use at Chicago Park District locations. 

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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.

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(Kevin Gessner / Flickr)

A team led by several Chicago-area researchers has developed a new method to “upcycle” single-use plastics into a number of commonly used products, such as motor oils, detergents and cosmetics. 

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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.

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A gorilla at Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Joe McKenna / Wikimedia Commons)

Mining for coltan, a mineral compound used to make cellphones and other small electronics, has displaced large numbers of Eastern gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

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(mali maeder / pexels)

On average, people in the U.S. generate 220 pounds of plastic waste each year, even though much of those materials could be recycled. Here’s the lowdown on the types of plastic that can and can’t be recycled. 

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(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.