Archive for October, 2009

Composting Becomes the Law!

Last week I read some great news and some awful news.  First, the bad news: in order to cut costs, the City of Chicago is considering reducing recycling pick-ups to once a month or once every 3 weeks.

The good news is that, in another part of the country came a huge victory for composting in San Francisco.

Last week, San Francisco passed a bill mandating residents separate their organic food waste from their landfill-bound trash.  And, while Chicago may well be behind the curve in recycling waste, Illinois passed Senate Bill 99 – Food Waste Composting.  Effective January 1, 2010, it allows for large-scale composting in Illinois.  Businesses will be allowed to have 3rd parties remove food waste where it can be used in composting operations rather than contribute to our waste stream.

New York Times article on San Francisco:

Fact Sheet on IL Composting Bill:



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Finding Green Careers

Presented by Jason LaFleur, in partnership with Green Home Experts

When: Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Village of Oak Park Public Works
131 South Blvd, Oak Park

What: Finding Green Careers is a brief seminar that will help you learn about jobs and careers in the new green economy. The goal of this program is to discuss the future of sustainability, show you some of the many related career options, and help you identify your role in this exciting field.

We’ll begin with a brief overview of sustainability, with special emphasis on its role in the business world today. A broad definition of what a green career is will be presented. The course then presents an overview of the top projected careers in the green economy, and appropriate designations people can pursue on a career path. Transitioning existing jobs into green careers is also discussed. The program concludes with actionable steps you can take to become successful in a career related to sustainability.
Learning Objectives

  • Relate a green careers to business objectives
  • Recognize the importance of a broad systems approach to a green career
  • List several top green career professions
  • Describe the need for existing businesses to transition to a green economy
  • Create an appropriate career path for your own green career.

Cost: Free!

Reservations: Appreciated.  Please reply to

Eco Achievers’ President and Director of Curriculum Management, Jason La Fleur, is a member of the national Professional Development Committee of the US Green Building Council (USGBC), which sets standards for their Education Provider Program for LEED AP continuing education. Jason is also the chair of the Education Committee for the Illinois Solar Energy Association, and an instructor for the organization. Additionally, he works for the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability, a LEED for Homes service provider. Jason holds a Master’s in Education from the University of Illinois, and has over ten years of project management and curriculum development experience for educational programs. Further dedication to sustainability is demonstrated in his LEED Accredited Professional designation.

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Ten Ways to Green Your Halloween

I’ve always loved Halloween.  I vividly remember picking pumpkins with Dad and carving them at our kitchen table with Mom, parties at school, handmade costumes, and the candy. Oh, the candy.  The individually-wrapped, make your teeth rot, sugar high-inducing candy.

There are many ways to celebrate your own Halloween traditions that have less impact on the environment.  Here are a few tips to green your Halloween:

1) If you’re throwing a party, email invitations instead of snail mail.  Try for good-looking, easy and free invitations.

2) Eat seasonally.  Celebrate autumn by getting produce from your farmers market.  Enjoy hearty meals made with a variety of gourds, root vegetables, and apples.  After you carve your pumpkin, cook the meat in a pie and bake the seeds for a delicious salty snack!

3) Pick your own pumpkin.  Visit local farms instead of buying from large, commercial growers who ship their product from farther distances.  Look for farms that use little or no pesticides.

4) Use re-usable plates, cups, cutlery, napkins and tablecloths for parties at home and your children’s schools.  Reusing these items every year will not only save money, but will also lessen what you send to the landfill.  We sell Recycline’s line of reusable products.  They’re 100% recycled and recyclable, made in the USA, and BPA free.

5) Make your own costume, buy a used one, or borrow from friends.  It takes a lot of energy and money to put together a costume you’ll wear once, so go easy on your wallet and the planet by putting together an ensemble of used items.  Resale shops usually have nice offerings of not only costumes, but also decorations, at this time of year.

6) Instead of using plastic disposable bags to collect treats, use a reusable bag.  Everyone has reusable shopping bags these days, and those will do the trick (or treat).  We’re selling Halloween-themed ChicoBags for a mere $5.  You can also take a brown paper grocery bag, decorate it, and then recycle it after Halloween.

7) Go reverse trick-or-treating.  UNICEF has a great program that gets kids to raise money while trick-or-treating.  Visit for more information.

8) Consider zero waste decorations.  Choose reusable decorations and seasonal gourds.  Stay away from flimsy disposables and anything requiring electricity.  We prefer decorating with pumpkins and gourds, because they can be composted!

9) Give green goodies.  Consider fair trade chocolate or organic lollipops.

10) Get outdoors and feast your eyes on the season.  Visit a farm, pick apples and pumpkins, walk through a lush forest.  Look up, look down, look all around.  Fall is a festival of colors!

Do you have more ideas for greening your Halloween?  Please share them here!

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Pros and Cons of Tankless Hot Water Heaters

Finally, an article about tankless hot water heaters that I can agree with!  If you’re on the market for one of these babes–or if you’re just curious, be sure to read this article.  And before you buy, don’t forget to visit the EnergyStar website to ensure you can get as many tax credits as possible.

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