Monday, February 27th

Last updateFri, 14 Oct 2016 11am

 About the Project

In 2011, the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) launched a citywide project called accelerate77, aimed at accelerating grassroots sustainability initiatives throughout Chicago’s 77 community areas. The project did this by identifying the initiatives and connecting them to one another, resource providers, and policy makers in a city-wide Sharing Approaches that Work Conference. The accelerate77 project has led to the formation of the Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network (CSLN). As the organizing sponsor of the network, ICA is currently engaging members of the CSLN, a network of local activists and community organizations/organizers throughout Chicago, in collaborative change making efforts.



 CSLN Recycling Meetings, November 2016

Recycling contamination robot

Over four meetings in November, the Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network (CSLN) gathered with over 70 residents across Chicago to brainstorm solutions to improve recycling in Chicago. We heard from representating from Chicago's Streets and Sanitation Department and collectively answered the question "What are practical actions and strategies that can help Chicago deal with the blocks and reduce contamination in recycling bins across Chicago?"

Among the many ideas (over 65 total), residents were most excited about clear and simple recycling guidelines, education and getting youth involved, consistent recycling services across the city, activation of local recycling ambassadors in each neighborhood, and positive incentives for recycling well.


The CSLN is summarizing the ideas from the meetings and will share a final report with the City in January. Until then, you can learn more about recycling by visiting the resources listed below or contacting a CSLN organizer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


News coverage to learn more about recycling in Chicago:

recycling nov 9 1  recycling nov 16 3  recycling nov 15 1 
recycling nov 2 2 recycling nov 2 3







September CSLN Meeting Recap
Icebreaker to guess which Chicago neighborhood or landmark you are
On September 28th, the CSLN met at the Austin Public Library on Chicago's west side. There were a few new faces at the meeting, and many attendees represented west side neighborhoods. The meeting started off with an interactive icebreaker about Chicago landmarks and neighborhoods. While the game presented a challenge to some participants, it was fun to learn more about each other and Chicago.
The group's main task was to move forward the CSLN Recycling Initiative, an initiative supported by the City of Chicago to brainstorm creative ways to reduce recycling contamination. The CSLN will be hosting one central meeting and three regional recycling meetings in November in order to brainstorm creative solutions to lowering contamination rates of blue bins. If you are interested in getting involved in the recycling initiative, see the description above or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you'd like to learn more.


Get Involved in the CSLN Policy Group 

CSLN Policy Group is currently working on the following tasks in 2016:

  • Creating a document with sustainability contacts/point persons throughout city departments  (water, transit, water reclamation, etc) 
  • Creating a document that helps members have conversations with their alderman and local officials around sustainability planning and how links to violence prevention, job creation, and health
  • Assessment of where we as a network see different City sustainability policies. Whats working well/what areas are not getting the required attention. We want to work on this before we begin to think about what policy's we may be able to help draft. 

If you're interested in working on any of these items or learning more about the policy group, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.