November 15, 2002

Recyclable Plastics Will Become Railroad Ties

Students of Jose Clemente Orozco Academy in Pilsen commemorated America Recycles Day today by participating in a recycling effort to benefit their community. The students, along with CTA President Frank Kruesi, 25th Ward Alderman Daniel Solis and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan, launched the ?Renew the Blue? Recycling Project, an initiative to collect recyclable plastic from the neighborhoods surrounding the Cermak (Douglas) Branch of the CTA's Blue Line. The collected plastic will be melted down and turned into plastic railroad ties for the 'L' line, which is currently undergoing a $482.6 million renovation.

?Our thanks to everyone involved in the effort to collect recyclable materials on behalf of the Blue Line Rehab project," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. "I can?t think of a better way to kick off America Recycles Day than by providing recyclable materials to rebuild the 'L' line that serves so many right here in your own neighborhood."

The ?Renew the Blue? recycling project is a collaborative effort between the CTA, Chicago Public Schools, the City of Chicago Department of Environment (CDOE), Chicago Park District and neighborhood residents. The project is providing three avenues for plastic collection: regular blue bag curb side pick up for more than 30,000 residences along the Cermak (Douglas) Branch of the Blue Line, "collection days? at 41 public schools and collection at five local parks.

?We always encourage our students to do their part to preserve the quality of our environment by recycling at home and supporting our teachers as they implement recycling programs in their classrooms," said Arne Duncan. ?Through this community partnership, students will be able to see firsthand the results of their recycling efforts every time the new Blue Line travels through their neighborhood."

During the week of November 18, participants will collect recyclable items such as milk, juice and water containers along with laundry detergent bottles and other recyclables on behalf of the CTA.

Each school and park will have a designated collection day during the week of November 18 - 22, while residences will place collected plastic in CTA ?Renew the Blue? bags for regular blue bag curbside pickup the same week. The material collected during the initiative will be taken to City of Chicago waste/recycling plants. Once processed into recycled plastic pellets, it will be shipped to a facility that turns it into railroad ties for the CTA.

As an added incentive for students, U.S. Plastic Lumber Corporation (USPL), which manufactures the recycled plastic railroad ties, will award the five schools with the highest amount of plastic collected per student with a bench made from recycled plastic.

CTA began replacing its wooden creosote-soaked railroad ties with recycled plastic ties in 1998. The plastic ties offer both performance and environmental advantages. Wood ties require creosote treatments to extend the service life of wood especially in certain harsh climates. The plastic ties resist decay, insect attack and water absorption and do not require the use of toxic preservatives. To date, the CTA has installed the largest number of plastic composite ties of any public transit agency in the country. Of the 650,000 track ties in use on the CTA system, 30,000 are made from plastic, with an additional 11,000 currently on order.

CTA has developed a number of initiatives in its effort to operate in an environmentally friendly manner. In addition to the use of plastic railroad ties,CTA is installing energy efficient lighting at maintenance facilities and currently operates low emission non-revenue vehicles.

The $482.6 million renovation of the Cermak (Douglas) Branch of the Blue Line is one of the CTA's most ambitious capital improvement projects to date. Situated on Chicago's near Southwest Side, the Cermak (Douglas) Branch provides rapid transit service to the neighborhoods of Pilsen, Heart of Chicago, Little Village, Lawndale and the town of Cicero. The branch also serves as a vital link to various medical centers such as Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke's, Cook County, University of Illinois, St. Anthony's and Veteran's Administration Hospitals. Project completion is expected in January 2005.

CTA Blue Line RecyclingParticipating School Collection Schedule

Monday, November 18, 2002

Peter Cooper Dual Language Academy

William Gladstone School

Moses Montefiore School

Jose Clemente Orozco Academy

Manual Perez School

Pilsen Community Academy

Simpson Alternative School

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Charles Hammond School

Josiah Pickard School

Juana Ines De La Cruz School

William Finkl School

Irma Ruiz School

Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy

John Spry School

Telpochalli School

John Greenleaf Whittier School

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Ambrose Plamondon School

Cardenas Modular School

Lazaro Cardenas School

Rosario Castellanos School

Gerald Delgado Kanoon School

Ignace Paderwski School

Recovering the Gifted Child School

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Thomas Chalmers School

Crown Community Academy

George Howland School

James Johnson CPC School

James Weldon Johnson School

Julia Lathrop School

Lawndale Community Academy

Nathaniel Pope School

Friday, November 22, 2002

Daniel Corkery School

Dvorak Math/Science/Technology Academy

Matthew Henson School

Theodore Herzl CPC School

Charles Evans Hughes School

Roswell Mason School

Roswell Mason CPC School

Milton Olive CPC School

William Penn School

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