Litter Free Zone Provides Eco-friendly Opportunities

A pair of recyclable containers sit at the intersection of 79th & Racine inviting nearby Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus patrons to dispose of their recyclables. These containers are joined by several others strategically placed throughout Auburn Gresham and West Chatham.

Ernest Sanders

Mayor Richard M. Daley recently announced that the City of Chicago will receive funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to create community-based green jobs for the hard-to-employ, including the formerly incarcerated over the next two years.

The City will use these funds to support two new green job training initiatives: the Green Job Work Experience and Community Green Jobs. Both programs were developed by the City and its non-profit and business partners. 

The Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GADC), a City delegate agency was selected based on several competitive requests for proposals (RFP).

GADC will receive funds through the Community Green Jobs initiative to help leverage and enhance its existing litter free program by providing up to 10 eco-friendly jobs. 

Also as part of this partnership with the City, GADC's Green Ambassadors will be trained in the specifics of community-based litter prevention which includes a 3 step process to engage our residents in active recycling.

This 3 step process includes 1) raising awareness & recycling promotion, 2) door to door recyclable pick-up, and 3) cultivating recycling partnerships. Likewise participants will receive supplemental technical job skills and academic training, social and life services support, and job placement assistance.

Through the upgraded (Litter Free Zone Initiative - LFZI), recyclable materials (paper, plastic, glass, bottles) within an expanded area of Auburn Gresham and West Chatham (including residents and now businesses), will be collected and properly disposed in a large recyclable dumpster located at the 17th Ward Aldermanic parking lot.

GADC's LFZI coordinator Hubert Newkirk prepares to unload his personal vehicle with recyclable materials at the 17th Ward Aldermanic parking lot.

Ernest Sanders

GADC's executive director, Carlos Nelson is excited about the City's interest in Auburn Gresham's enhanced litter free and recycling efforts. He said, "Our LFZI offers our residents and stakeholders a first-class opportunity to improve their quality of life both personally and professionally. We are thankful for the City of Chicago and its Department of Environment for their attention and awareness to keep Auburn Gresham a safe and clean place to live, work, shop, and thrive."

This initiative also includes participation from 5 local participating elementary and high schools. These schools include Perspectives Charter Schools-Calumet Campus, Simeon Career Academy, and Oglesby Elementary School, with others to be considered.

The LFZI began in April 2008 and collected through December 2008, 2765 recycled bags from residents only. This was approximately 41,475 pounds of recycled materials. In 2009, the LFZI collected 6,708 bags between the Auburn Gresham and West Chatham communities (residents only) totally more or less than 101,620 pounds.

Click here to see the 2009 comparative analysis of recyclables collected in Auburn Gresham and West Chatham.