Chicago Consistently Ranked Top 10 Greenest Cities in US

| September 16, 2009 | 0 Comments


Recently, you may feel like “being green” messages are everywhere. Well, that’s because they are! Here at Chicagonista, we feel that leading a lifestyle that’s as eco-friendly as possible is important, but that no one needs to revamp their entire way of life overnight. Writing from an eco-conscious mom  point of view, each month I’ll share my tips, tricks, info, and insight with you so that you can move forward with greening your world one step at a time.

You may not realize it, but living in Chicago already puts you in the leader category when it comes to going green. Chicago has been consistently ranked in the top 10 greenest cities in the country and Mayor Daley is on a quest to make Chicago #1! Popular Science rated us #9, and Sustain Lane rates Chicago #4! The city has numerous projects in the works from greening roofs of buildings like City Hall, to the green alleyways project, to the Climate Change Action Plan, which aims to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, so we are already well on our way. (For more information on Chicago’s green initiatives, check out the Department of Environment’s web page.)

Living in a city that is so invested in eco-consciousness makes it easy to get started in your local neighborhood or even just your home. A good first step to take at home is to start recycling. Many of you probably already do this, but there are also lots of us that care about the environment, but just aren’t sure where to start. The confusing part is that not all homes are treated equally…if you live in a single-family dwelling or a 2-4 unit building in Chicago, you might already have a blue bin. These bins are set out just like your garbage bins and the city’s recycling trucks pick them up and bring the recyclables to recycling centers. Here is a link to see exactly what can and cannot be put into the blue bins. If the Blue Cart program has not come to your neighborhood yet, contact your alderman to tell him/her that you want them and ask when you can expect yours. In the meantime, you can collect your recyclables yourself and drop them off at any of the city’s collection centers. The city also has a great web page with lists and maps for these centers so you can easily find one near you!

If you live in a multi-unit building with 5 or more units, you will need to contract recycling pick-up with your waste hauler. Here is a very helpful and comprehensive site to look over if you own or live in a multi-unit building.
Your hauler will be able to give you a list of what types of paper, plastics, metals and glass items can be recycled with them.

Some general guidelines for recycling are to rinse out cans and containers of any remaining food or contents, and shred any paper waste with important information regarding your identity. I also found that when we started seriously recycling in our household, we generated much less “trash” as a result and could have gotten a smaller garbage can (especially after we started vermi-composting, but that’s for a future article), so that’s something to consider. My 2 year old now knows the difference between putting something in the “garbage” vs. the recycling bin, and we put a fun sticker on the latter so people visiting our home can tell the difference.

Here’s to starting (or continuing!) your home recycling program, and I look forward to bringing you another “Serving of Green” soon!

Photo Credit: City of Chicago

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Category: Featured, Health & Fitness, Living Green

About the Author ()

Kristen Holub, mother of 2 and creator of, is an artist and business owner turned stay-at-home mom. She makes conscious and mindful decisions to keep the household eco-friendly and shares tip and tricks for others to do the same. She can always be found running around town with her kids, as she jots down and shares their great finds in the city.

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