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Del Valle calls for recycling fee

Updated: December 10, 2010 9:05PM



Mayoral challenger Miguel del Valle said Thursday he would ask Chicago homeowners to pay a monthly fee for recycling pick-ups if elected mayor to speed the citywide switch to curbside recycling.

Laborers Union Local 1001 has lobbied for a $10-a-month fee to raise $72 million — enough to bankroll curbside recycling for the 359,000 Chicago households without the service.

After unveiling his environmental agenda for Chicago, del Valle refused to pinpoint the recycling fee he would impose if he’s elected mayor.

He would only say that Chicago recycles just eight percent of its residential waste — compared to 12 percent in New York and 51 percent in Los Angeles — and that it was high-time to “pick up the pace.”

“I am establishing a goal for citywide recycling. We need to consider a recycling fee,” del Valle said.

“People have to accept it and understand the value of it, but I don’t think we’re there yet. We have to educate people. But if we do, people will understand that, if we’re gonna talk about sustainability, everybody is going to have to do their part to protect our planet.”

Del Valle also called for “dramatically increasing the installation of water meters in Chicago homes.”

“I am not going to state at this point how we pay for that. But it’s something that needs to be worked out,” the city clerk said. Del Valle’s so-called “Priorities for a Sustainable Chicago” also include shutting down the Fisk and Crawford coal plants in Pilsen and Little Village that, he claims, “spew out 17,000 tons of deadly toxins” each year.

And he wants to follow New York City’s lead by mandating that buildings with over 50,000 square feet produce an “energy performance report” every 10 years and share that information at the time of sale.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported last summer that thousands of blue recycling carts — with a price tag of nearly $1 million — are stashed away in a Far South Side warehouse because City Hall bought them to make the citywide switch to curbside recycling, but ran out of money a third of the way through.

Daley’s final budget calls for privatizing curbside recycling in 2011. Final bids are due back next week.

But, the lame-duck mayor has acknowledged that the savings generated by a private contractor would not be enough to expand recycling beyond the 241,000 households that already have the service.



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