by Akilah Mitchell for SUST 240
Oak Park and River Forest are two of many western suburbs in the Chicago area on the rise toward becoming a sustainable community. They’ve currently have set in stone a 10-year plan to make their towns greener known as PlanItGreen, which is associated with the OPRF Foundation, Seven Generations Ahead, and several more organizaitons. This plan was developed in June of 2011 with proposals on making Oak Park and River Forest sustainable. To get this project going they set categories in each area that are important to address, such as education, energy, waste, water and many more. In each of these categories there are set goals to accomplish to transform the community into an environmental friendly town. A more in-depth explanation of the PlanItGreen is stated here:
PlanItGreen Sustainability Plan reduces the environmental footprint and advances common sustainability objectives of Oak Park and River Forest through 2020. Phase 1 of PlanItGreen began in August, 2010 with the aggregation of baseline metrics on community resource use conducted by the Center for Neighborhood Technology. Phase 2, led by SGA in collaboration with the Delta Institute, included a multi-faceted community engagement process resulting in the development of a final plan with goals, targets, and strategies in nine sustainability topic areas.
One of the many steps in PlanItGreen involves reducing waste. The two goals for waste includes diverting the community residence waste from landfills by 50% by 2015 and 62% by 2020, and decreasing overall waste created by 1% annually. The most up to date numbers are from this Community Sustainability Report Card 2012.
For the first goal: diverting waste from landfills involves the strategies of recycling, diversion of construction debris, and encouraging composting by families. Each strategy is not solely depended upon the town itself, but it educates and encourages the residents of the town to get involved with the plan, too. The strategies for the second goal of waste reduction are again focused on diversion of construction debris and composting. For the first strategy they want to develop a Building Reuse Material Resource Center for the towns. For a more detailed look at both goals and strategies, consult the Oak Park River Forest Sustainability Plan.
To continue watching the progress on the Oak Park and River Forest sustainability plan, go to Seven Generations Ahead to keep up to date with their activities and initiatives. Soon they will be making a report card to show the progress in 2014!
Each week during the Fall 2014 semester, students in Prof. Mike Bryson’s SUST 240 Waste online class at Roosevelt University will contribute blog posts on urban and suburban sustainability issues to the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future website.