A blue bag is a blue coloured, sometimes semi-transparent bag for waste, mandated for use in some localities for refuse or for certain specific types of refuse: the distinguishing color serves to assist in recycling programs. Typically, it would be used for glass, plastic or polyethylene content.
The City of Chicago implemented a blue bag system in 1995. As it may be the case for all blue bag systems, it operates by requiring willing participants to purchase blue garbage bags (available at major grocery stores throughout the city) and depositing recyclable material in the bags. This may be paper-based (cardboard boxes, gift boxes, newspaper, etc.), plastic and glass, or yard/lawn refuse. A separate blue bag must be used for each of the three types of recyclable material.
The Chicago system has been criticized for its tediousness and inconvenience, as blue bags cost more to the homeowner than grocery bags and this system of recycling, compared to ones implemented in other cities and suburbs, requires additional effort. Chicago Sanitation management has claimed Chicago's Blue Bag system diverts approximately 25% of its waste to recycling facilities, which was its initial goal. However, most independent studies place the estimates at approximately 9% of the garbage picked up, resulting in continued criticism towards the program.
Blue bags are used to distinguish different types of recyclable materials at the point of collection. The content allowed differs from area to area, depending on decisions of the local council.
- "Taiwan Has Found a Brilliant Way to Get People to Recycle More". Buzzworthy. 30 August 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- Dumke, Mick. "Awful Truth About Recycling in Chicago". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
- "City Hall to get rid of blue bag recycling program :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State". Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-05-02.