In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today announced two weeks of eco-friendly events and also highlighted sustainability initiatives that have saved the County millions in energy costs and conserved the environment.
“We’re creating a model that other counties and local governments can use to positively impact the environment and build sustainable communities now and for future generations,” President Preckwinkle said. “I’m proud the County is on the forefront of applying workable, homegrown solutions to the global problems of climate change and pollution.”
Through a partnership with ComEd, Cook County has saved $3 million dollars in energy costs over a two-year period. The Sustainability Advisory Council appointed last year will announce further green initiatives in June that could save the county much more in energy costs.
Another success is the County’s green ordinance that requires contractors in suburban and unincorporated Cook County to recycle 70 percent of their debris for most demolition projects and divert 5 percent from residential waste for reuse. The results so far are exceeding requirements, with nearly 80 percent of debris being recycled and 11.6 percent reused, according to Deborah Stone, director of the County’s Department of Environmental Control. Cook County is the first local government in the Midwest to require the reuse of material as part of its ordinance.
In another energy-saving project, the County’s Department of Transportation and Highways replaced 108 incandescent traffic signal bulbs with energy-saving LED lights, a move that will reduce energy bills for those signals by about 70 percent and cut maintenance costs.
In addition, Cook County has partnered with the Chicago Botanic Garden and Richard J. Daley College to train 125 people annually in urban agriculture and sustainable horticulture through the Windy City Harvest Program.
The Board of Commissioners passed a resolution Wednesday recognizing the County’s green accomplishments. The resolution noted that the County has undertaken 90 energy efficiency projects and has successfully partnered with municipalities, private companies and non-profit organizations to reduce energy costs and encourage environmental innovation. The County’s use of federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) has funded 600 energy audits for local businesses and homeowners, identifying huge potential savings in utility costs. EECBG funds also made possible the installation of two experimental wind turbines and a data center in Lynwood is collecting information and will serve as a teaching tool on the most efficient ways to leverage wind power.
EECBG funding was also instrumental in the success of the Cook County Sheriff’s Boot Camp computer recycling program. Participants were taught every aspect of running a small recycling business and processed over 2,500 computers and other electronic equipment, keeping 64,500 pounds of electronic waste out of landfills.
In recognition of Earth Day, the Cook County Department of Environmental Control is participating in several events that will include electronics recycling and prescription drug take-back opportunities. For more information or to learn about other recycling events and environmental initiatives, contact the Cook County Department of Environmental Control at 312-603-8200 or visit our websites at http://blog.cookcountyil.gov/sustainability or http://www.cookcountyil.gov/environment.
April 20, 2013
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Busse Woods, Grove 24
Elk Grove Village
Electronics Recycling, Prescription Drug Take-Back, Forest Preserve Clean-Up.
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Friends of the Parks Earth Day/Parks & Preserves Clean-up
134th St. and Halsted
Forest Preserve Clean-Up, Electronics Recycling, Bike Repair, Scavenger Hunt, Ceremony with President Toni Preckwinkle.
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Earth Day Festival
Northbrook Village Green
Radon awareness and home radon test kit ordering, and many other activities.
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Oak Park Earth Fest
Oak Park Public Works Center
201 South Blvd.
Prescription Drug Take-Back event plus hands-on activities focusing on zero waste.
May 4, 2013
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Community Recycling Event
2000 Fifth Ave.
Electronics Recycling and Prescription Drug Take-Back, Clothes/Shoes Recycling
Friends of the Parks will host its 24th annual Earth Day Parks & Preserves Clean Up at more than 120 sites on April 20. Register at www.earthdaychicago.com. For more information on Forest Preserve-sponsored Earth Day Events, visit http://www.fpdcc.com and click “Events.”