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Going Green

Electronic Recycling

The Village of Northbrook has developed a number of green initiatives over the years, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Whether it is hybrid vehicles, energy use, or new construction, the Village and its residents have taken important steps to encourage earth-friendly practices.

Here are just some of the latest examples of how Northbrook is going about it:

Green Living At Home

Northbrook residents are interested in living green, and there are plenty of things that can be incorporated into the home environment. Native plantings are a perfect example of something that people can easily do to include earth-friendly initiatives in their front and back yards. Rain barrels are becoming a popular choice to help manage storm water run-off. Green roofs are another possibility, and they can be a terrific choice for facilities such as small gardening sheds or outbuildings.

CFL Bulb recycling

Residents also have plenty of recycling options. Basic residential recycling is already in place in the Village which allows for paper, cans, aluminum and other items to be recycled. All recycling needs to be out by 6:30 a.m. on the scheduled pick-up day and must be placed curbside. (For those who would like additional information, contact Veolia Waste Services at 847-272-4145.) There are drop-off bins in the lobby of Northbrook Village Hall for both compact fluorescent bulbs and household batteries, and car batteries can be picked up with the regular garbage. There is also a bin at the Northbrook Public Library for household batteries. Electronic items can be dropped off at the fleet maintenance garage for recycling from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month. The building is located at 1227 Cedar Lane, behind the Village Hall.

Vehicles, Clean Energy and Fuels

To address concerns about cars and other vehicles which contribute significantly to global warming, Northbrook has made “anti-idling” a standard operating procedure for its non-emergency vehicles. Public Works vehicles are even equipped with an automatic five-minute shutoff to help make this easier.

Hyrid cars

The Village also chose to invest in four hybrid vehicles that have replaced older cars in the administrative fleet. Two 2007 Toyota Prius', one 2007 Ford Escape, and one 2008 Ford Escape will help the Village reduce emissions and fuel consumption.

Hybrid cars also require less maintenance for issues including oil changes, brake replacements, and tune-ups. Changes such as this require some infrastructure adjustments as well. Dan Kaup, the Assistant to the Village Manager, pointed out that a recharging station was added to the back of the building at Village Hall to accommodate the electrical needs of the new cars.

Northbrook has renewed its commitment to alternative energy sources by once again purchasing 4,500 megawatt hours of wind-generated energy since 2007. The Village has also worked to incorporate the use of clean fuels, such as biodiesel and ethanol. All diesel-powered vehicles that are owned by the Village use biodiesel fuel.

Community Gardening

washing carrots

Community gardening is popular in Northbrook. Village Trustees recently approved a new community garden with 17 individual plots and one Food Pantry plot, located behind Village Hall on Cedar Lane. Operated by members of the Northbrook Community Garden, Inc., the garden is designed to give residents an opportunity to grow vegetables and other plants of their choice with the intent of donating some or all of the produce they harvest to charity. The Village license issued to the Northbrook Community Garden, Inc. highlights several benefits, including enhancing the urban environment, fostering community interaction and educating members of the community about gardening methods and techniques. An additional benefit will be the ability for gardeners to make donations to the nearby Northfield Food Pantry and other charitable organizations. The Northbrook Park District rototilled the 90 by 40-foot site and gardeners have access to a ground hydrant for watering plant stock. For more information, contact Brian Bruce, Garden Coordinator of the Northbrook Community Garden, Inc. at 847-498-5008.

A community garden at St. Peter’s Church has also grown in popularity. Doug Gerleman, who serves as the Chairman of the Environmental Quality Commission, advocates for community gardening, explaining that he also believes the timing is ideal. “The combination of hard economic times, the need for people to save money on food, and the concern for food safety, makes this the perfect project,” he says.

Green Buildings

solar panels

The Village’s new Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling Ordinance was instituted to make sure that materials such as cardboard, metal, brick, acoustical tile, concrete, plastic, clean wood, glass wall-board, carpet and insulation, and other materials, from construction sites are recycled.

The ordinance includes a timetable. It states that by December 31, 2010 at least 50 percent of all construction and demolition debris must be recycled, and after January 1, 2011 at least 75 percent of the construction and demolition debris must be recycled. Since Northbrook is a popular location for homes and businesses alike, this ordinance should help stem the tide of waste sent to landfills from construction sites.

Northbrook has focused in on many different areas to lessen the impact that everyday living has on the environment. The Village continues to search for new ways to incorporate green living principles, and remains committed to doing so through measures such as infrastructure improvements, recycling, energy use, and more.

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