Expanding Earth Day Practices Year Round
By Village Manager Phil Kiraly
Earth Day is right around the corner and in an environmentally-conscious community like Glencoe, there are multiple ways to celebrate, partake and give back.
Earlier today, over 70 District 35 students gathered around Glencoe for a student Clean-Up Day – using their day off of school to give back to their community and help keep Glencoe beautiful. Next Saturday, April 22 the Friends of the Green Bay Trail is joining forces with the Union Pacific Railroad to host All Aboard for Earth Day, an event open to the entire community, from 9 a.m.-Noon. Volunteers will help clean the trail by cutting buckthorn and pulling garlic mustard. Finally, next Thursday, April 27 the Sustainability Task Force and the Alliance for the Great Lakes is hosting a special Ravine Workshop to help homeowners on ravine properties learn about caring for Glencoe’s unique ravine system. Fun fact: Glencoe has eight ravines that enhance the beauty of our neighborhoods, help add privacy to backyards and provide homes to songbirds, butterflies and wildflowers.
While these events are a welcome opportunity to give back to our community and environment, Earth Day is also a good reminder to pick up those good habits that we may have lost throughout the year. First, be sure to brush up on what items are currently accepted through the Village’s curbside recycling program with Lakeshore Recycling Systems. View a full list of items here. The Village also offers electronics recycling at the Public Works Service Building (325 Hazel Avenue) on Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m. (appointment only), hosts a Recycling Drop-off Center during regular business hours (8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Monday-Friday) at the Public Works Service Building and houses a prescription drug drop-off box in the Public Safety Department as well as a sharps disposal container in Village Hall on Wednesdays. Learn more about these special recycling programs here.
Next, consider what to do with those items that aren't accepted curbside or through a Village program. The Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) has a full page of resources for special recycling programs, for just about everything—from books, to clothing, to electronics and more. Keep in mind that donation is great way to divert your unwanted items from the landfill and help support those less fortunate in the community. This reminder is especially timely, as the Village prepares for our Spring Clean-Up Days on May 3 and May 10. Before setting items out to the curb consider if they could be donated to a worthy organization. We have a list of local organizations who schedule pick-ups or host donation drop-offs here.
Of course, environmental consciousness goes beyond recycling. Here are five non-recycling ways to help protect the environment year-round:
- Eat and buy local: Local groceries and restaurants are more likely to source their products from local farmers and vendors. This means your food travels less, and as an added bonus your patronage helps support the local Glencoe economy.
- Use a reusable water bottle and drink from the tap: Plastic water bottles may be convenient, but with over 30 billion plastic water bottles sold annually in the U.S., they are a major contributor to landfills and litter. Plus, Glencoe’s water is sourced directly from Lake Michigan and continually meets the highest standards for potable water. Similarly, we have a history of coming out on top in tap water taste tests. Village Hall is plastic water bottle free, --not only have we saved money with this policy, but we’ve helped our employees adopt this healthy and green concept too. Learn more about Glencoe’s water from our most recent Water Quality Report.
- Be water wise: Nationally, an estimated 50% of household water is wasted. Take steps to find and fix leaks, buy water-efficient appliances and winterize water pipes. One fun tip – try watering your household plants with ice cubes. The ice melts slowly, preventing excess water from running out (creating a mess and wasting water in the process). For more water saving tips look here.
- Stop junk mail: This may take a little extra effort up front, but instead of throwing those pesky fliers and letters right into your recycling container, take a minute to contact the company and request to be removed from their mailing list.
- Drive less, and drive green: Walk, bike, carpool and take the Metra or PACE as much as possible. Plan errands in advance to avoid making multiple trips. When running errands in downtown Glencoe, park once and walk to all your destinations. Also, take care of your car - tune-ups and fully inflated tires help increase fuel efficiency.
Do you have other ideas of ways to promote sustainability and environmental consciousness in Glencoe? Share them with the Sustainability Task Force.
Ravine photo credit: Lloyd DeGrane