Cities across America going green by improving waste management services

Cities generate unfathomably large amounts of trash that can clog up landfills.

Cities generate unfathomably large amounts of trash that can clog up landfills. Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently called for help processing the tons of trash that come out of New York City everyday, while other major metropolitan areas across the country have looked for other routes to reduce waste.

Thanks to a plan that integrates the services of private trash collectors and city waste services, Mayor Rahm Emanuel hopes that the entire city of Chicago will have curbside recycling collection by 2013, according to the Huffington Post.

He called for private contractors to bid for the opportunity to be a part of the initiative, and because of that, he explained to the website that he was able to save taxpayer money and give the Windy City a greener future.

Seattle officially banned the use of foam take-out containers and plastic bags, according to The Associated Press. Additionally, residents will now be able to opt out of receiving phone books, and the city may look into moving away from weekly trash collection, a move that Portland, Oregon, made last fall.

"Some people aren't exactly doing cartwheels on every-other-week service, but we're seeing many, many people adapt, and the program appears to be working very well," Bruce Walker, Portland's solid waste and recycling program manager, told the news source. "It was a big change, but people are clearly adapting. We've seen a big drop-off in garbage, as well as an increase in yard and compost."

He added that the amount of garbage that was picked up during the initial trial of the project was about 30 percent less than before.

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