Sustainability programs

One Earth Film Fest Earth Day Week Screenings - Young Filmmakers Award-Winning Short Films

2-4 PM, Saturday, April 27, 2019 - River Forest Public Library, 735 Lathrop Avenue

Recycling Extravaganza

Save the date for this year's Recycling Extravaganza! The event will be Saturday, May 4 from 8 AM - 1 PM, rain or shine, at River Forest United Methodist Church on the corner of Lake & Thatcher. See the flyer for details on what will be accepted. 

Click here to view the flyer.

Native gardens being installed along Central east of Keystone by River Forest Public Works crews.

The Village of River Forest is committed to promoting and creating a more sustainable environment through its Sustainability Commission and a variety of programs, initiatives and resources. Consult the list below for sustainability programs by topic.

Green News

Bike River Forest

Are you a biker? Do you know someone who loves to bike? The Sustainability Commission is calling all residents who are interested in bikeability in River Forest!  The Village needs your input on several initiatives, including a study to make River Forest streets bike-safe, incorporating biking priorities into the Village’s Comprehensive Plan, and bike paths through River Forest to help connect the Des Plaines River Trail to the Prairie Path.  Let the Sustainability Commission know you’re interested by emailing

Brown Bag and Curbside Compost Pick Up

Please note that compost and brown bag pick up switches to every other Tuesday, December 1.

Sustainability Questionnaire

The Sustainability Commission is asking residents to fill out a brief questionnaire to gain a better understanding of what residents already know about sustainability in the village and help guide the future direction of the commission.  

Take the questionnaire

Village commitment

The Greenest Region Compact 2 (GRC2) promotes sustainability in communities around the Chicago region with an emphasis on building strong and vibrant communities. To date, more than 70 communities have signed the Compact, which addresses ten areas, including climate, economic development, energy, land, leadership, mobility, municipal operations, sustainable communities, water, and waste & recycling.

 The GRC2 guides municipalities towards sustainable goals and actions and encourages communities to work together to create a sustainable region.

 In the Village of River Forest, the GRC2 was adopted by Resolution 16-17 on December 12, 2016. The Village of River Forest has been a leader in the Chicago region in sustainability.

President Adduci is a signatory on behalf of the Village of River Forest to the Chicago Climate Charter.  The Village has specifically committed to:

  • Expanding River Forest’s curbside compost offering, to divert more organic material from  landfills, reduce the emissions from longer distances to haul the village’s landfill waste, and turn residents’ organic waste into a valuable compost commodity for our community;
  • Improving and adapting the pathways and roads in RF to be more pedestrian and bike friendly, with the goal of enabling and encouraging the choice of walking or biking over driving;
  • Collaborate with neighboring municipalities and relevant governmental organizations to connect the Des Plaines River and Prairie Path bike paths, for commuting and recreational use by bike and on foot;
  • Accelerating municipal use of renewable energy and working to deliver affordable renewable energy access in all communities;
  • Adopting policies and investments that reduce or eliminate, and encourage the reduction and elimination of,the carbon footprint of public transit systems, my city’s own vehicle fleet, and privately-owned vehicles.

Read the Charter.

Free compost for your garden! Twice a year for River Forest residents who sign up for curbside pickup of compostables

Green Block Parties

Click here for information about Green Block Parties.

Energy efficiency


Water management

Waste reduction and management

Community and business initiatives

Energy efficiency

There are many ways each of us can help cut down the amount of fuel and energy we consume and reduce air pollution at the same time. Here are a few easy ways you can save gas, money and the environment:

Nicor Financial Rebate Programs

Nicor offers financial rebates to residential customers for the installation of high efficiency boilers, storage water heaters and high efficiency furnaces. Learn more about the rebate program for your home.

The Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program offers financial rebate incentives to Nicor Gas business customers for saving energy, as well as for replacing outdated natural gas equipment with new, high-efficiency models. The program also provides funding for custom energy-saving programs for qualified commercial projects. Learn more about the business rebate program.

ComEd Energy Savings Programs

ComEd offers a host of energy savings programs, including Fridge and Freezer recycling, real-time pricing, a multi-family home energy savings program, and more. Click here to learn more about the ComEd programs.

Public Transportation

River Forest provides a host of public transportation options to, from and around the community including the Metra West Rail Line, CTA Green Line and Pace Bus Service.

Lawn and tree care

Healthy Lawn, Healthy Family Initiative

River Forest is pleased to announce the Healthy Lawn, Healthy Family Initiative. Here you will find tips on how you can create a Healthy Lawn. If you take the pledge, you will join the many River Forest residents who have made the commitment to a sustainable and resilient lawn. In doing so, you will contribute to a healthier environment for your family, pets, insect pollinators and the Des Plaines River. You will also receive our "Keep ON the Grass" lawn sign to show your commitment.

Below are links you will find helpful toward transforming your lawn to a Healthy Lawn!

The following tips provided by the Midwest Pesticide Action Center share helpful resources for lawn care. Follow these tips and use the Natural Lawn Calendar for a vibrant lawn all summer long!

Public engagement

PlanItGreen Sustainability Plan

PlanItGreen, a sustainability planning and implementation project seeded by the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation's Communityworks Partnership, has engaged residents, businesses and institutions in developing a two-community, ten-year sustainability plan for the Villages of Oak Park and River Forest. The plan supports the interests of leaders and stakeholders in engaging all levels of community to reduce their environmental footprint and advance common sustainability objectives. The project is overseen by the Communityworks Advisory Board and the PlanItGreen Core Team. 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 Seven Generations Ahead 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 each of nine sustainability topic areas - energy, waste, transportation, water, food, education, community development, open space and ecosystems, and green economy. This phase culminated on June 23, 2011 with the release of the final plan at an event with over 100 community leaders and residents. SGA is directing Phase 3 of the project, which includes 2012 and 2013 strategy implementation, data aggregation and the project's first sustainability report card. The links below provide an executive summary of the project, a copy of the Sustainability Plan and Report Card. 

Stormwater management

Order a Rain Barrel

Rain barrels are a great way to capture and store rainwater coming off a roof. Rain barrels consist of a plastic storage container, a system for diverting downspout water into the barrel, and an overflow that returns to the downspout or diverts water safely away from the house.

Water from rain barrels can be used to water your lawn, garden or household plants and reduces stormwater runoff, thereby reducing the strain on our combined sewer system during major storm events.

Between January 2014 and December 2016, the MWRD will have funded and distributed more than 120,000 free rain barrels. The demand for rain barrels has cultivated a newfound understanding and appreciation for managing water in addition to providing the MWRD with an opportunity to provide many communities with a new tool in combating flooding.

As of December 2016, the MWRD has discontinued the free rain barrel program and has returned to its prior program of selling rain barrels at cost on the MWRD’s website,

Click here to learn more about Rain Barrels and to order yours

Waste reduction and management

Event tips

The Village is formally recognizing Block Parties that are "Green" and environmentally sensitive and will help facilitate the use of a composter at your event. For more information, visit the Block Party Permit page.

Tips to make your event green include:

  • Assign a “Green Leader” or “Green Committee” to oversee the environmental impact of the event.
  • Reduce unnecessary consumption by avoiding one time use or single serving items such as bottled water, juice boxes, plastic plates, plastic utensils. Instead, use a water jug or water cooler with reusable cups and cloth napkins. BYO Plates and utensils (after all, your kitchen is only steps away) OR, if you must use throwaways, then choose unwaxed paper plates and napkins that can be placed into your compost.
  • Consider renting supplies.
  • Consider packaging and environmental impact before ordering or purchasing food items.
  • Purchase your food from the local farmers’ market.
  • Avoid Styrofoam (Polystyrene Foam) which cannot be recycled, does not biodegrade and is hazardous to human health
  • Pair every waste receptacle with the signage provide by the Village to organize compost, recycling and landfill. (These are provided in the Village Green Block Party Kit.)
  • Assign some children to be Green Volunteers and oversee the compost and recycling bins. District 90 students already know how to compost and recycle. They are happy to share their knowledge. They can help with the clean-up so that all the right materials are either composted or recycled.
  • Adopt a no-idling policy for cars and trucks delivering supplies.

Below are some resources to where you can purchase eco products that can be composted or recycled:

Athletico Physical Therapy Helps the Body and the Earth  

Visitors and patients to any of the Athletico Physical Therapy Clinics around the River Forest area will be using compostable, earth friendly cups during their visits rather than Styrofoam cups, beginning in December 2018. After a visitor to the clinic contacted Regional Manager, Kevin Hendrix, regarding alternatives to the single-use Styrofoam cup he switched cups within a week!.  Mr. Hendrix commented, “It was an easy change and made sense.  We want to provide our patients with the best possible health options while taking care of the planet too.”  Thank you, Athletico.

It is estimated that Americans alone throw away 25 billion polystyrene cups a year.  Consider carrying your own container.  To read more about polystyrene and its effects on the planet and how you can make changes to your habits, click here

Zero Waste Station Loaner Program

The Village has three Zero Waste Stations that are available for residents to borrow for neighborhood events.  Waste Stations allow participants to sort their trash, recyclables, and compost materials into separate bags and then dispose of all the bags as part of the Village's weekly trash, recyclable, and compost pickups.  The Waste Stations include the foldable waste station, bags, and instructions on how to sort the waste.

Waste Stations can be reserved using the Sort-It-Out Loan Program Agreement.  Please return the completed Agreement form either in person at Village Hall, or via e-mail to Joan Espana.  Once reserved, the waste station can be picked up and returned to the Village Hall at 400 Park Avenue Monday through Friday, between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm.

Tree City USA

The Village of River Forest has been a Tree City USA Community since 1998. The National Arbor Day Foundation has named River Forest a Tree City USA community based on the following standards: having a forestry division, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program, and an Arbor Day observance.