Green Commitment

Committed to doing our part

It’s wonderful that awareness has increased about how we can all do our part to protecting our environment for future generations.

We, at the Park Ridge Park District have long believed it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the land we maintain and to conserve our natural resources—and we are committed to doing our part.

The Park Ridge Park District recognizes the irreplaceable value of a healthful environment for our patrons and is committed to protecting the environment while meeting the recreational needs of the community.

Our environmental policy

We will operate in compliance with all applicable environmental laws and regulations and strive to exceed the minimal legal obligations for environmentally sound practices.

We will consistently encourage environmentally responsible procedures of our employees and continually improve our environmental performance.

We will continuously promote environmental awareness and model “best practices” in environmental responsibility to the public we serve.

We will plan and budget with protecting the environment as a core value to minimize curtailing of environmentally sound decisions due to budgetary constraints.

We will:

  • Purchase and use products which minimize negative environmental impacts.
  • Implement ways to conserve and protect water and soil, enhance air quality, limit pollutants and protect plant and animal life.
  • Implement ways to conserve energy resources and actively seek methods of applying alternative energy technologies.
  • Reduce waste and reuse and recycle materials from facility and park operations and encourage others who use our facilities and parks to do the same.
  • Handle hazardous and other wastes according to lawful and safe procedures.
  • Protect and restore indigenous natural areas on Park District property and actively promote the reclamation, acquisition, preservation and management of other open space areas by the Park District and other local governing bodies.
  • Provide education and experiential opportunities for the public that increase appreciation for the natural world and promote environmentally conscious lifestyles, including selective consumption, recycling and low-impact use of natural resources.

The Park District's Sustainability & Beyond committee is comprised of staff members from each department who work together to improve sustainability at the District. Annually, the committee develops a workplan and reports on the accomplishments at year end.

2018 Highlights

Parks and Natural Resources:

  1. Purchase a zero-turn propane mower - COMPLETED
  2. Create a butterfly garden at the Centennial Activity Center – COMPLETED
  3. Install LED lights at Hinkley Park- COMPLETED tennis courts are done


  1. Implement software for Beyond the Bell and Preschool participant forms to convert to electronic. – COMPLETED and ONGOING launched epact software for Preschool and Nature Preschool; plan to expand to Beyond the Bell and Camp in 2019
  2. Creating a Little Free Library for the community at Maine Park. NOT COMPLETED
  3. Install rotating barrel compost bins at Wildwood and East Wing of Maine Park for Nature Preschool, Nature Camp, Discovery Camp, Kindergarten Kapers, and Wildwood to use for food waste, and then to use the compost on the gardens. COMPLETED purchased and installed in Fall


  1. Continue to upgrade light fixtures to LED and install motion sensors where applicable. COMPLETED
  2. Use recyclable plastic liners in all buildings. COMPLETED where we use plastic liners in the buildings, they have all been switched out to recyclable.


  1. Develop a Workplace Sustainability Guide for the District. NOT COMPLETED
  2. Research digital file storage software. NOT COMPLETED

Education & Outreach:

  1. Review and update/improve the “Green Commitment” page on the district’s website to include more comprehensive information about our current practices, as well as resources for the community to learn what they can implement in their own homes.  POSTPONED Sandra will hold as January 2019 monthly web review topics
  2. Hold annual events
    • Earth Day event – COMPLETED
    • Two clean-up events COMPLETED held Earth Day Work Day, MANNA Day of Giving, Des Plaines River Clean Up, and a cleanup with Redeemer Lutheran Church.
    • Pumpkin Smash & Bash – COMPLETED
    • Community Garage Sale - COMPLETED
    • Halloween Costume Exchange- COMPLETED

Additional Accomplishments:

  1. Oil changes are being done in-house and we work with Safety Clean to recycle the oil (it’s a free process)
  2. Oil filters also go to Safety Clean and they recycle/reuse them.
  3. This summer camps used a heavier wristband (for swim status) resulting in less wristband being used because kids were able to wear them longer.
  4. Native/perennial plantings at parks and in front of Maine Park.
  5. For the trees that were taken down, they were split into logs for use at the Wildwood Nature Center.
  6. We have converted to all organic products certain areas of parks, and only spot treat weeds.
  7. On playground areas we use no chemicals
  8. We buy biodiesel fuel
  9. Camps converted all field trip forms and waivers to electronic using WuFoo software.
  10. Installed LED lights in the parks at Woodland, Centennial, and Brickton Parks.
  11. Ice Rink liners at South Park (add wording)
  12. Purchased battery powered pole saws, chain saws, line trimmers, blowers, and snow blower.
  13. Fishing line collection containers at the WNC.
  14. Staff is limited catalog receipt; getting off mail lists
  15. Installed papercut software to monitor and reduce printing
  16. Recycled/properly disposed of old chemical products that were being stored.
  17. Manager Solberg presented at Green Drinks, MPAC Lake and Lake Forum, and was featured as a Change Maker by Go Green Park Ridge.

2019 Workplan

Parks and Natural Resources:

  1. Purchase two zero-turn propane mowers


  1. Implement epact software for Beyond the Bell and Camp participant forms to convert to electronic.
  2. Work with Schools to reduce waste from snack at Beyond the Bell.


  1. Signage at Fitness Center to remind patrons to reduce towel usage.
  2. Replace windows on main level at South Park to help with energy efficiency.


  1. Marketing – Implement use of GoProof for electronically proofing documents (including the brochure)
  2. Administration – Hold a purge day for staff tied into a shred
  3. Electronic onboarding through Paycom
  4. Implement code on copiers to print in color

Education & Outreach:

  1. Have Committee attend Park District events to promote what the District is doing for Sustainability
  2. Hold annual events
    • Earth Day event
    • Two clean-up events
    • Pumpkin Smash & Bash
    • Community Garage Sale
    • Halloween Costume Exchange

Conserving engery and natural resources doesn't have to be a major commitment! There are a lot of small steps you can do in your own home and throughout your daily activities to be kinder to the environment.

Here are a few ideas you can try:

  • Send your child to preschool or summer camp with a reusable water bottle, lunch bag, and snack containers labeled with his/her name.
  • When packing snacks and lunches, buy in bulk and fill reusable containers instead of single serve packages.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle with you to Park District programs and facilities. We have bottle filling stations at most facilities.
  • Donate your outgrown, gently used dance shoes to the Park District dance program. Participants in need of dance shoes can pick a pair from our donation bin.
  • Reuse dried up markers: Soak a small bunch of the same or similar colors in jar filled with water. The color will bleed into the jar, creating watercolor you can paint with!
  • Carry In, Carry Out Rule – anything you bring in with you to a facility, park, or event, take with you when you leave.
  • Use our online registration system to sign up for programs instead of in person. It saves paper and gas needed to drive to a registration facility.
  • Properly recycle your small electronics, lightbulbs, and batteries.
  • Garden with native plants.
  • Water your garden or grass responsibly (early morning or late evening watering; not watering when grass is dormant during hot weather months).
  • Compost your food and yard waste.
  • Leave your grass clippings behind as natural mulch when you cut your grass.
  • The height of your grass should never be below three inches. The higher your grass, the more shade it provides to the roots, which discourages weed growth.
  • Shut down your computer and turn off your electronics at night, as they still pull electricity.
  • Turn off the water faucet while brushing your teeth.
  • Turn off lights and electronics such as the television when you leave the room.
  • Program your thermostat to adjust accordingly when you’re not at home.
  • Wash your laundry on the cold setting.
  • Don’t use plastic straws. Choose paper, metal or glass straws instead.
  • Before you purchase new items, look for gently used options or ways to alternatively use what you already have.
  • Avoid single use items. If you have to use them, make sure they are recyclable items.
  • Bring your own reusable containers for leftovers when you go out to eat.
  • Bring reusable bags to the grocery store.
  • Know and follow the recycle rules for your area.
  • Use water and vinegar instead of chemical cleaners.

What can you recycle at the Park Ridge Park District?

  • Clothing: USAgain collection bin is located behind Oakton Ice Arena
  • Paper: Abitibi collection bin is located behind Oakton Ice Arena
  • Shoes: collection bin is located in the entrance foyer at Centennial Fitness Center
  • Toner and hand-held electronic devices: Wildwood Nature Center accepts toner and small hand-held electronic devices for recycling
  • Tennis Balls: collection containers are located at South Park and Hinkley Park tennis courts
  • Vases: staff collects used vases at the Centennial Activity Center for donation to Random Acts of Flowers
Additional Resources:

School & Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education (SCARCE) collects various items and gives them away to educators and non-profit organizations or gets them recycled. Visit their website for a list of what you can donate.