Wednesday morning, Stella the Dog ran downstairs to bark at the front door hours before she usually greets the mail lady.
“Woof, woof, woof, grrrrrr,” she growled. “Woof, grrrr, woof, woof.”
By the time I got her to quiet down there wasn’t a soul outside.
But whoever got Stella all riled up left a line of brand-new blue recycling carts in front of every house on the block.
Overnight, Pullman entered Chicago’s new era of recycling.
Looking at all those shiny blue carts on the sidewalk reminded me of Chicago’s infamously flawed Blue Bag recycling plan.
You remember the blue bags — an Omaha-born recycling idea co-opted by former Mayor Richard Daley to save money on expensive bins and additional trash trucks while still offering alleyway recycling to save landfill space.
Environmentalists and hippies warned that the blue bag program would be a bust — financially and environmentally.
Years later, we found out they were right.
Most of our blue bags wound up in landfills, only a fraction of our post-consumer waste got recycled, and Daley’s blue bag program got trashed.
Now, Chicago’s recycling set — particularly my friendly neighborhood environmentalists and hippies — had finally got the blue carts they’ve coveted for so long.
But I had to laugh a little. The city had delivered the blue bins — like presents on our front stoops — to a block of row houses that mostly don't offer access to the alley from the front of our houses, forcing folks to wheel the bulky things down the block to the alley, where they belong.
It was a small but fitting mix-up for a city that for so long has struggled to get a viable recycling program like folks in the suburbs have had for years.
Ironically, Wednesday also was trash day. So, I caught up with the Streets and Sanitation worker picking up trash in the alley and asked if we were supposed to put our recycling on the front sidewalk. I laughed. He shook his head — and promised to ask his supervisor.
Most of my neighbors probably wheeled the bulky blue bins down the block, around the corner and into the alley.
But I proudly left my out-of-place recycling bin on the sidewalk for everyone to see.
Chicago is a recycling town again — and as Ol’ Stella will tell you, that’s something to bark about.