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Additional Information

Green Minds of Lake Forest-Lake Bluff

Environmental Initiatives



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Goals of the LFCEL

  • To promote awareness of environmental concerns associated with the decline of ecosystems and the loss of biological diversity and recognize the value of protecting our natural heritage and open spaces. These environmental concerns include water quality, ravine and bluff degradation, eradication of invasive species, air quality issues, tree disease and pest threats, and reduction of waste.
  • To promote awareness of community-wide projects and programs aimed at improving the natural environment in Lake Forest and improving the quality of life of residents.
  • To engage a network of resident volunteers to work and take action within our community to address environmental issues and manage the natural resources of the City.
  • To facilitate community governance and subsequent action through collaboration with Collaborative members' groups and City residents.
  • Provide collaboration in the development of responsible environmental standards, City ordinances and policies, and promotion of educational awareness for environmental practices in our community.

The City of Lake Forest Sustainability Plan

On October 12, 2016, the Plan Commission unanimously approved a recommendation that the City Council adopt a Sustainability Plan as an amendment to the City's Comprehensive Plan.

Compost at Home:  Purchase an Earth Machine from The City of Lake Forest

It costs only $55 and the City will deliver it to our home and send you an invoice.


Compost Pickup

Lake Forest residents interested in composting food waste can now opt to have it picked up weekly or bi-weekly. Collective Resource, Inc., a food scrap pickup service based in Evanston, will pick up food waste as far north as Lake Forest. This company provides residences with a red bucket to fill with food waste and leave at your door. Collected waste is delivered to a commercial composting site to become useful compost, rather than taking up limited space in landfills; composting can reduce household garbage volume by at least 30%. Different from backyard composting, Collective Resource will pick up anything that was once alive with no dairy, meat, animal waste, or food-soiled paper restrictions. Get started by filling out your contact information here or calling 847.733.7665. University of Illinois Extension of Lake County Master Gardeners can also answer technical questions related to home composting. Contact them at 847.223.8627.

Our Ravines, Our Legacy

The Lake Forest Collaborative for Environmental Leadership has recently received over $76,000 in grant money to fund the Lake Forest Ravines Education and Outreach Project. The LFCEL will be restoring the Seminary Ravine, just south of Forest Park.  This project will serve as a cornerstone demonstration site to teach residents and students about ravine health and what ravines should look like.

If you are a homeowner adjacent to a ravine, please take a look at the LFCEL's new brochure containing important information for your landscaping, stormwater runoff, pesticides and more.  Click on the "Steep Slopes, Long Legacy for Homeowners Near Ravines" brochure at the right under "Documents."

All Lake Forest residents can also benefit from learning about the importantce of ravines to the ecosystem.  Click on the "Steep Slopes, Long Legacy" brochure at the right under "Documents."

Don't Stuff the Bluff!  Keep Lake Forest's Ravines Clean.

The Lake Forest Collaborative for Environmental Leadership ("LFCEL"), which members include The City of Lake Forest, Lake Forest Elementary School District #67, Lake Forest High School District #115, Lake Forest Open Lands Association and Lake Forest College, was formed to bring together the community to educate and engage in environmental action and to promote sustainable practices within Lake Forest.

The role (expanded in the "Goals" listed below) of the Collaborative is to bring together the collective resources of its members to identify and consider existing issues while identifying new programs and approaches that encourage environmental thinking and action to:

  • Protect Lake Forest's unique natural heritage
  • Enhance residents' quality of life
  • Improve the value of the community
  • Make a meaningful contribution to creating a healthier community and local ecosystems
  • Expand the conservation ethic and resident pride

Electric Vehicles

Owners of electric vehicles are now able to power up in Lake Forest. Click here for the article and photos.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reduction is the first step to living a greener lifestyle. If the waste isn't produced in the first place, we don't have to figure out ways to mitigate it later. Purchase re-usable grocery bags, water bottles, and think twice before you grab a handful of napkins or paper towels. Try to find ways to reuse objects in creative ways or donate to an organization that specializes in reusing materials for art supplies or donation to people in need. If an object cannot be reused, rinse and recycle. In addition to curb side pick up, the City offers residents a comprehensive Compost and Recycling Center located off of Route 60. Take advantage of this community asset and do your part to reduce the amount of trash placed in landfills.

Rain Barrel Purchases

The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission offers Lake County residents an opportunity to purchase rain barrels for stormwater conservation and reuse.  For information, please click here.  Information can also be found on the SWALCO (Solid Waste Agency of Lake County) website by clicking here.

Think Green for Construction Projects

There are many ways to "green" your construction project. Preservation Magazine published The Cost of Going Green to provide a sense of the money savings associated with improving the energy efficiency of your home. Review the Where to Recycle Construction Debris pamphlet for information on how to recycle or reuse material from a construction site.


Photo Credit:  Jon Cunningham

Walk/Bike More, Drive Less

How many of your daily trips are under one mile distance from your house? Are there any opportunities to walk or bike in your daily routine? Identify a safe route to school for your children and spend time walking with them and not only improve your health, but teach your children healthy habits for their future. If you must drive, combine your trips to reduce the number of outings and park once and walk if possible. The CDC recommends that everyone get a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Walking or biking is an easy way to get your recommended amount of exercise while getting things done in your day.

Reduce Water Usage


Above: Community Forum titled "Water: Where Does It Come From, Where Does It Go?" held in the fall of 2013. 

One simple tip to reduce your water usage is to turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth or wash your face. This simple tip can save up to 1400 gallons of water per year. Another tip is to keep a pitcher of water in the fridge to have cold water at hand instead of waiting for the faucet water to cool. The average faucet uses 2-5 gallons of water per minute. Imagine what you could save with a couple simple changes to your daily routine. Think "water-wise" for our future.

Reduce Energy Consumption

Did you know that your electronics are still using energy even when you are not using them? When appliances are idle, they use up to 40% of the energy needed to operate when in use. Use a power strip to control appliances that you use together such as televisions and DVD players and turn off your computer when not in use or enable a stand-by mode to lessen the energy consumption while you are away. Using LED or Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CLF) can also lower the energy consumption in your house. Every little bit helps to lower your energy usage and these small changes are simple to implement.

ComEd also offers some tips here that could also help save on your electric bill:

The Citizen's Utility Board offers some additional programs to help you lower your utility bills while providing incentives also geared towards reducing energy consumption:

Green-up Your Lawn Care

Using native plant material reduces the amount of water and upkeep needed to keep your property looking great. If you have a turf lawn that needs to be mowed, wait until the sun goes down to reduce the impact the emissions from a gas lawn mower have on the environment. Even better is to use an electric or hand powered mower to do the work. Talk to your landscaper on how to green your lawn care.

Clean Green

Cleaning supplies often contain ingredients that are detrimental to the environment. Look for environmentally friendly cleaning supplies without added fragrance or make your own with vinegar, borax, and water. Running a full dishwasher or doing a full load of laundry is more environmentally efficient than partial loads.

Shop Local

Shopping local doesn't only boost local economy in Lake Forest, it also is a greener way to shop.  Shopping local means less travel time from your house to the store.  Combining your errands with other activities also makes trips less frequent and more environmentally-friendly.  Many Lake Forest shops and retailers are committed to green business practices such as reusing shipping material and reducing packaging material in the stores.



Municipal Service Building, 800 N. Field Drive

Built in 2009, the City's Municipal Services Building received LEED Gold Certification as a sustainable site and for utilizing efficient energy resources, water and materials.  The building houses the departments of Community Development, Building Maintenance, Engineering, Finance, Parks & Forestry and Public Works. 

Resident services available there are:  animal licensing, building permits and construction inspections, Compost Center permits, recycling, community sign board applications, real estate transfer tax applications, parking permits, vehicle stickers, water accounts and billing.


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