LRS inks exclusive $80 million, three-year residential recycling contract serving four of six zones in the City of Chicago’s Blue Cart Recycling Program

Highly anticipated contract serving 400,000 households sent to bid after nearly a decade, aims to improve on Chicago’s lackluster residential recycling churn

MORTON GROVE, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES, April 13, 2021 / -- LRS, the Midwest’s leading independent waste, recycling and portable services provider, today announced it has been awarded an historic and exclusive three-year, $80 million residential recycling contract serving four of six zones within the City of Chicago’s Blue Cart Recycling Program. The contract, effective June 2021 and serving 400,000 households, aims to improve Chicago’s sluggish residential recycling rates and divert more discards from the waste stream than ever before.

The announcement was made public April 6, in a statement issued by the City of Chicago’s Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS), referencing in part: LRS is committed to recycling and protecting the environment. As an organization, they possess more recycling assets than any other company in the Chicago area, including a state-of-the-art single-stream recycling facility that can sort cardboard, mixed-paper, glass, steel, other metals and plastics.

“This groundbreaking contract shifts the recycling paradigm in Chicago and we are honored to be selected by DSS to improve recycling output for Chicagoland households,” said LRS Managing Partner Joshua Connell. “LRS was an early pioneer and innovator in the sustainable economy, repurposing, diverting and recycling more waste away from landfills through a circular operating model that has kept us thriving as the Midwest’s leading independent waste and recycling services provider.”

In total, the city’s Blue Cart program serves residential buildings with four or fewer units, reaching nearly 420,000 locations and representing approximately 620,000 households. As part of DSS’ commitment to expand and accelerate Blue Cart recycling services in Chicago, LRS will collect recyclables with less than 50 percent contamination, ensuring more waste is recycled rather than sent to landfills. In addition to the three new Zones, LRS will continue to provide recycling service for Zone 5, with the two remaining zones continuing to be serviced by DSS.

The expanded Blue Cart Recycling Program is the sixth municipal waste contract awarded to LRS in 2021, including: the City of Des Plaines, the Village of Clarendon Hills, and the Village of Deerfield. To accommodate the company’s continued growth, LRS will add new drivers, maintenance technicians and other essential jobs to its ranks.

“We couldn’t be more excited to expand recycling collection to three more service zones within the Blue Cart Recycling Program, and we are proud to be making a difference as Chicagoland’s hometown waste and recycling services partner,” said LRS CEO Alan T. Handley. “From residential and commercial waste and recycling to street sweeping and portable restrooms, LRS is helping keep Chicago’s vibrant neighborhoods and communities more clean, and green, than ever before.”

Handley said LRS has been making investments for many years in anticipation of accelerated recycling demand in the City of Chicago. In 2018, LRS became the first company in the United States to install Machinex’s SamurAI robotic sorting machine at its Heartland Recycling Center. Today, the investment is a strategic asset that dramatically accelerates recycling throughput, and efficiency all while relying less on the manual labor needed in the sorting process.

LRS has earned numerous accolades since its founding, including: the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Workplace Ethics; 2020 and 2019 rankings on the Crain’s Fast 50, an annual ranking of Chicago’s fastest growing companies by conducted by Crain’s Chicago Business; and a 2018 and 2017 winner of the coveted Illinois Sustainability Award. The company has provided waste and recycling services for more than 640 Chicago Public Schools since 2014, as well as 40 municipalities and thousands of businesses and institutions throughout greater Chicago.

About LRS

LRS is North America’s seventh-largest privately-held waste and recycling company. For more than 20 years, LRS has specialized in providing comprehensive, fully integrated waste diversion and recycling services for hundreds of thousands of residential and commercial customers in northern Illinois, western Illinois, southern Wisconsin, northwest Indiana, southwest Michigan and the Quad Cities region. Diversified and growing exponentially, LRS also offers: affordable roll-off container services, C&D recycling, portable restroom rentals, municipal and commercial street sweeping, mulch distribution, on-site storage and temporary fencing. LRS owns and operates 26 facilities, safely deploys a fleet of fuel-efficient trucks, and thrives on the passion of more than 1,200 full-time employees. The company processes more than 3.2 million tons of waste each year, providing safe, innovative, sustainability-driven services to clean and beautify the cities, neighborhoods and communities it serves. To learn more visit

Meaghan Johnson
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