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Environmental Initiatives


Environmental Sustainability Committe Established
At the January 21, 2020 City Council Meeting, Mayor Pandaleon announced the creation of a new City Council Committee, the Environmental Sustainability Committee. 
"Although the City of Lake Forest was environmentally aware and pro-active long before it was a wide-spread trend, it is important to me, and based on many conversations with residents over the past year, important to many in our community, that we as a City Council step forward at this time to do even more to preserve and protect the environment for future generations of Lake Foresters.
With the formation of a Council Committee specifically charged with considering the City’s existing policies as well as new policies as they relate to the environment, conservation and sustainability, we will keep this topic at the forefront of our conversations. My intent is that the Committee will identify initiatives that we can support as a community as well as prompt conversations that help us all become more aware of how we can each play a role in making Lake Forest a little “greener”."
Alderman Melanie Rummel was appointed as Chairman, and Aldermen Jim Preschlack and Jed Morris will also serve on the Committee.




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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.

Recycling in Lake Forest

Pool "De-Watering"

Chlorinated water discharged to surface waters, roadways or storm sewers has an adverse impace on local stormwater quality.  High concentrations of chlorine are toxic to wildlife, fish and aquatic plants.  Waters possessing an extreme pH level can also be detrimental to aquatic organisms as the pH of the water4 should be between 6.5 and 8.5.  Algaecides such as copper or silver can interrupt the normal algal and plant growth in receiving waters and should not be present when draining.  Prepare appropriately before draining a pool.  It is recommended that one of the following measures be used:

  • De-chlorinate the water in the pool prior to draining through mechanical or chemical means; these types of products are available at local stores.
  • De-chlorinate the water in the pool through natural means.  Pool water must sit at least 2 days with a reasonable amount of sun after the addition of chlorine or bromine.  It is recommended that the chlorine level be tested after 2 days to ensure that concentrations are at a safe level (below 0.1-mg/1).

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.

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:

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.



Environmental Sustainability Committee (06:30 PM - 08:30 PM)

Event's details
January 20, 2021

Time:06:30 PM - 08:30 PM



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