CHICAGO—In an effort to ensure all discarded plastic, metal, and glass is properly processed, the City of Chicago introduced a new recycling program Thursday that requires residents to sort, sanitize, melt, re-form, label, and fill bottles before placing them in a bin. “Starting today, all recyclable materials must be cleaned, itemized, heat-treated, poured into a mold, tagged with the correct sticker, and deposited in a blue container by the curb,” said Department of Streets and Sanitation spokesperson Cassandra Reed, adding that the 20-step procedure was the easiest, most efficient way for the city to handle the more than 100,000 tons of recycling it picks up from blue carts each year. “When recycling metal, residents need to compress their cans into rectangular bales, shred them, and liquefy them in a vat, after which each household must contract with a certified wholesaler capable of finding a buyer for the resulting product. In the case of glass, bottles must be crushed and placed in an industrial blast furnace before being recast, filled with a beverage of the resident’s choice, and deemed acceptable by a city-approved vendor. Again, if your blue bin contains materials that have not been reduced to their absolute rawest form and then re-fabricated and rebranded for commercial resale, the city will not pick up your recycling, and you will receive a fine.” At press time, sources confirmed the new program had come under fire after investigators discovered that 90% of the reconstituted, sterilized, polished, and re-labeled materials collected by the city had been thrown directly into landfills.
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