CHICAGO (CBS) — You likely see them on the road all the time.
Junk collectors who pick up metal for recycling. The recycling plant where they take their goods is on the move.
According to CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley, the decision is dividing two neighborhoods.
It’s the unglamourous side of earth-friendly recycling. The business General Iron has done on Goose Island for more than 100 years.
The company will soon relocate to an east side neighborhood and some residents there aren’t happy.
“Not only do we already have more than our fair share of scrappers, we’re trying to transform that area in much the way the city of Chicago is being revitalized throughout many communities,” said Peggy Salazar of the Southeast Environmental Task Force.
The site of the old Republic Steel Mill at 116th and Avenue O is the planned new entrance for General Iron, where it plans to combine operations with another scrapper, Reserve Marine.
“It’s a facility site that’s 175 acres and extremely buffered from the community. The public access that comes closest to where we are now is approximately about 2,000 feet away,” said General Iron spokesperson Randall Samborn.
That’s little comfort for protesters who said their community has been Chicago’s industrial dumping ground for far too long.
“They’re not bringing in new jobs. This is relocated workers. There’s a big difference,” said Salazar. “Our residents will not benefit in any way from their move down here.”
But just two blocks from the planned project entrance, other residents are keeping an open mind.
“If it’s creating a lot of jobs and it’s green and not bringing in any more pollution, I’m for it,” said Carlos Salazar.
Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency cited General Iron for excessive air emissions. But the company is disputing that conclusion.
Tenth ward alderman Susan Sadlowski-Garza said she’s waiting to see additional plans before deciding on whether to support it.
The plan is to have the move completed by 2020.