Recycling enthusiast finds joy in Hegewisch alley

2013-06-12T00:00:00Z Recycling enthusiast finds joy in Hegewisch alleyJennifer Pallay Times Columnist
June 12, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Considering what an industrious and modern city Chicago is, I’ve always been confused as to why we have had no curbside recycling in Hegewisch since I’ve lived here. This month that is finally changing.

I’ve been meaning to write about my Hegewisch recycling saga for some time and I’m happy to have a happy ending to finally finish the story.

The story starts when I was in fourth grade at my elementary school in Munster. Community leaders came to tell us about this new idea called recycling. They explained that all homes in Munster would receive their own recycling bin and they told us what types of things could now be recycled instead of tossed. Each bin would have a bar code and the recycling trucks would come through, scan your code and pick up your recyclables. If you kept up with the program and recycled, you’d receive a discount on your garbage service. As kids, we all really took to recycling. We loved our planet and were sold on the idea of a healthier future. Apparently so was the town because about a year later, the bar code scanning was dropped and everyone received the discount for 100 percent town compliance.

Years later when I was working in Glenwood, my business didn’t have recycling. It was too expensive, we were told. The waste management company charged a fee to pick up recyclables in addition to garbage. After a few years, I decided to call them myself and was happy to find out things changed and it was actually more cost effective to recycle. It cut down on our garbage pick up frequency and Dumpster size. It was an easy sell to my boss and soon we had blue recycling receptacles throughout my workplace.

My co-workers say I’m one of the nicest people they’ve ever met but they all know better than to throw recyclables into the garbage when I am around.

With all this recycling love, imagine my surprise when I moved to Chicago and found out we had no curbside recycling. For the past five years, I have loaded up garbage bags, paper bags and boxes with recycling and dropped them off at my mom’s house, which does have curbside recycling, or at the few and far between Chicago recycling centers.

Thankfully I no longer have to haul around garbage bags or find a place to stockpile them until they can be dropped off. This week, we received a postcard saying that curbside, or alley side as it may be, recycling is finally coming to our neighborhood. They call it the Blue Cart Residential Recycling Program and it will provide bi-weekly recycling service to single-family homes and multi-unit buildings with four or fewer units.

I actually jumped up and down with excitement when I saw the card and immediately posted it to Facebook to share my joy. My co-workers were all happy for me.

We’re supposed to be getting our new recycling cans some time in the next few weeks. It’s the best decision Chicago has made for a while. This is one happy lifetime recycler.

If you want more information on the new recycling schedule and items that can be recycled in the blue carts, you can visit

The opinions are solely those of the writer. She can be reached at

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