The Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) received 125 recycling containers to be used at forest preserve events in order to make recycling more convenient for visitors. The effort is part of the Keep America Beautiful (KAB) campaign, made possible by the Coca-Cola Foundation.
The project is one of 89 recycling initiatives receiving support from the Coca-Cola/KAB Recycling Bin Grant Program. Nationwide, the grant program is providing more than 5,000 recycling bins to colleges, universities, nonprofits, local governments and other community groups in 2015.
Blue, wire frame bins with clear plastic bags will be deployed at large scale events. The FPCC has 12 distinct locations that can accommodate large special events with capacities ranging from 600 to 4,000 attendees. Nearly 40 million people visit the preserves each year to take advantage of the various recreational offerings, amenities and programmed events.
“It is important we all help care for the preserves as we enjoy them this summer and in the future,” said General Superintendent Arnold Randall. “The proper disposal items will serve as reminders for the public and better assist forest preserve staff in our mission to maintain and care for our natural spaces.”
In 2014, the FPCC partnered with the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC a Division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) to conduct a waste audit. It was found that after two large permitted events, close to 14 percent of the waste generated by weight is from beverage glass, plastic and aluminum containers.
“This is a great win for FPCC but also for us at ISTC,” said ISTC Director Kevin O’Brien. “This is exactly where we work to make an impact – connecting partners for the goal of greater sustainable development.”
The waste audit report helped the FPCC identify an area of opportunity to limit the amount of material headed directly to landfills. Through the partnership with the University of Illinois, the grant was identified as a resource to help with sustainability initiatives at the FPCC.
The bags will be collected and weighed by FPCC staff and with the continued support of U of I the information will be recorded and the data will be calculated to determine the percentage of recycled products.
The containers will belong to the FPCC and will be used in an on-going campaign to promote green initiatives and sustainability.
About the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Don’t you sometimes just want to escape? Explore the natural beauty of Cook County for an hour, a day or even a night. When you’re surrounded by 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful there’s no better place to feel free.