Sustainability and environmental programs

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 sustainbility programs by topic.

Energy efficiency

Lawn and tree care

Public engagement

Stormwater management

Waste reduction and management

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Program offers financial rebate incentives to Nicor Gas business customers for saving energy, as well as for replacing outdated natural gas equipment with new, high-efficiency models.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

Green Block Parties & 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:

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 Dawn Haney.  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.