Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Environmental friendliness and sustainability has without a doubt become one of the more important and driving policy issues explored by government since the end of the 20th century. As a result of the growing awareness and concern about environmental preservation, many cities have implemented their own sustainable practices through passing policy that facilitates sustainable practices for city residents.

In 2007, the City of Chicago began the implementation of a citywide recycling program. The Blue Cart Recycling Program, as it was named, was started in seven communities in Chicago and has since grown to serving more than 600,000 households in the city. One of the ultimate goals of the program was to reduce the amount of recyclable materials would end up in city landfills and to make recycling an easy and routine practice for Chicago residents. The program has successfully reduced the amount of plastics and other recyclables being poured into landfills.

As described in Measuring Urban Sustainability by Marina Alberti, the quality of the urban environment is “dependent on physical elements…as well as on the culture and values of urban communities” (Alberti 388). Since Chicago implemented its Blue Cart Recycling Program, many Chicago residents have been able to develop knowledge and an interest in the well being of their community.

Implementing urban policy that favors sustainable practices can also arguably build and strengthen a sense of community among the affected residents. Psychologist Seymour Sarason defined a sense of community builds an interdependence with others and a willingness to maintain this interdependence by giving or doing [things] for others. (Sarason 1974, p. 157).

Chicago Blue Cart Program Information:

Sense of Community:

Sarason, S.B. (1974). The psychological sense of community: Prospects for a community psychology. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


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