Entries from Down Chicago’s Drain tagged with 'waste stream'

Paper in Motion

A time-lapse film by the New York Department of Sanitation showing waste paper being gathered and turned into cardboard boxes....

Ye Olde Time Rubbish Dump

WBEZ does an analysis of century-old data about garbage collection in the city of Chicago. The article has interesting graphs comparing the amount of consumer waste produced in 1905 to the present day. But its also a interesting glimpse...

Great Mississippi River Cleanup

Last week's Memorial Day bike trip along the Mississippi from St. Louis to Quincy inspired me to pick up Chad Pregracke's book From the Bottom Up: One Man's Crusade to Clean America's Rivers(2007) off my bookshelf. The author was...

A Series of Tubes

The lunchtime lecture on October 10 at the Chicago Architecture Foundation presented the idea of a ecologically sustainable urban city being explored in Sweden called SymbioCity. Phil Thompson and David Cordel representing the Swedish Trade Council described the projects...

Scrappers Dismantling Detroit

An eerie scene of post-apocalyptic gloom pervades this Op-Ed short from the makers of the upcoming documentary Detropia which follows a group of scrappers making a living dismantling the metal structure of Detroit....

Chicago River Wrap-Up

Chicagoist provides a concise summary of how plans to stop the Asian Carp are tied to the future of the Chicago River. Also, an excellent two-part article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel which tells the history of the Chicago...

Scrappers, the Movie

The Scrappers movie is finally screening! It will make its world premiere at the Chicago Underground Film Festival on Sunday June 27, as well as on Thursday July 1....

The Dirt on Recycling

A NY Times article reports that contracts for Chicago's new separate-source recycling program are being awarded to the same politically connected haulers who made millions off the failed Blue Bag recycling program of the 1990s. Some of them are even...

Why a Dirty River is Green

As reported in today's Tribune, the Water Reclamation District just completed a study which concludes that fully cleaning the wastewater from the city's sewage plants would increase their carbon footprint and therefore be bad for the environment. So the...

Dreaming of Garbage

On Saturday I attended a screening of the film Garbage Dreams at the Chicago Cultural Center. The film is a gentle portrait of three young men who are learning the traditional garbage collecting trade of the Zaballeen, the waste...

Water Pollution

Read Toxic Waters a great series of articles in the New York Times about water pollution in America. The most recent article is about how pollutants cleaned from coal-fired power plants ends up in local waterways....

What's That Cooking?

The Chicago Tribune reports today that a new machine at the Stickney sewage treatment plant is scheduled to go online soon, despite years of cost overruns, mechanical problems, missed deadlines and admissions by officials that the plant is no longer...

Don't Eat the Fish

Yet another study has found pharmaceuticals in the tissues of fish caught in the Chicago River near the outlet of the North Side sewage treatment plant, according to a Tribune article. The new research has shown the presence of pharmaceuticals...

Cairo's Trash Collectors

Margaret sends this link to a photo essay about the trash collectors of Cairo. The Zabaleen, or "Garbage People" in Arabic, are a sort of lower caste who perform the vital task of removing much of the city's detritus....

Who Wants our Trash?

An article in the New York Times yesterday spotlights the effects of the global economic slowdown on scavengers of recyclable materials in Beijing. Low worldwide commodity prices for used paper, plastic, and metal not only mean losses for community...

Friendly Chemicals

A sharp graphic representation of common pharmaceuticals which pass through the water treatment system. One of the many cute information graphics on the Good magazine website....

Returning Home to the Sewage Plant

According to a story in yesterday's Chicago Tribune, chinook salmon are running again in the outflow of the East Chicago, Indiana wastewater treatment plant. The salmon have used the outflow of the sewage plant as a spawning grounds since...

Scrappers on Film

Oh! There are others out there who are as intrigued by scrapper trucks as I am. You can even get a sneak peek at the Scrappers documentary being made by Brian Ashby, Ben Kolak and Courtney Prokopas. According to...

A Tour of Old Stinkney

On Friday a group of friends and I arranged for a tour of the World's Largest Sewage Treatment Plant, in nearby Stickney, IL. This plant serves the central part of Chicago as well as nearby suburbs, a sprawling campus...

Water on the Radio

WBEZ's 848 devoted a program today to the future of Chicago's water supply. You can listen online on the WBEZ website. A part of the program was the mini-documentary The End of the Pipe, which summarizes how Chicago's water supply...

A Thousand Straws

In today's Chicago Tribune: Wisconsin becomes the fifth state to sign the Great Lakes Compact, a further step toward setting up a legal agreement between all states and provinces bordering the Great Lakes to preserve their 20% of the world's...

Streets & San in the News

In the Sun Times: Yesterday the Chicago Streets and Sanitation Department unveiled a new boat to be used on the Chicago River. The Scavenger 2000 is a 38-foot, one-person craft which features a bow which opens to become a...

Scrappers by the River

My photographs of Chicago scrapper trucks will be on view in the temporary Riverwalk Gallery next to the river at Wabash & Wacker from May 2-4. The gallery will be open Sat 11-10 and Sun 11-6....

Blue Bags Dumped

At last, Chicago is giving up on its failed Blue Bag recycling program. Since 1995 the city has placed recyclables in blue garbage bags, which are collected with regular household garbage and only separated at garbage transfer stations. After being...

The Globalized Scrap Industry

If you haven't read it yet, the January New Yorker article about the worldwide scrap metal industry by John Seabrook is now online at booknoise.net. Its a fascinating look into the booming scrap metal market and its global connections from...

Twenty percent

The other day I went to a talk in Rogers Park, part of a new series put on by the 49th Ward Green Corps. Of the three speakers, I found most interesting the talk by Debra Shore, one of the...

Sweeping up the last of the Bubbly bike pile

On Sunday I helped clean out the last remnants of the Rat Patrol workshop in the basement of Bubbly Dynamics. Back in 2002, John had allowed use of a portion of the basement of his warehouse for stockpiling bike parts...

Combined Sewer Outflow - Day 2

Sunday morning dawned with waves of drizzly clouds. From our camp we woke early and decided to go across the river to Maxwell Street Market to look for some odds & ends, like a new lighter, batteries, a 15mm socket...

Source of the Chicago River

The other day I rode up to see the source of the Chicago River. The river has several branches and forks, and its natural source lies far to the north near the Wisconsin border, flowing through the Skokie Lagoons and...