Annual community cleanup of Fox River set for mid-September

Published: Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016 5:30 a.m. CDT

ALGONQUIN – McHenry County residents will be able to help clean up the Fox River by participating in the ninth annual “It’s Our River Day” celebration Sept. 17.

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and the village of Algonquin are sponsoring the local celebration of the statewide initiative from 1 to 4 p.m. at Cornish Park, 101 S. Harrison St. The initiative was created in 2004 by the Illinois River Coordinating Council and former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to create awareness of the state’s major waterway.

Volunteers will help clean up the Fox River while learning more about local environmental groups. Some local organizations participating in this year’s river cleanup event include the Land Conservancy of McHenry County, Illinois Paddling Council, Algonquin Rotary Club, Friends of the Fox, Sierra Club and McHenry Conservation District.

There also will be a live water rescue demonstration provided by the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District during the event.

Event co-coordinator Cynthia Kanner, with the Environment Defenders, said about 70 to 100 volunteers attended the celebration last year.

“It’s a day to just to celebrate the Fox River,” Kanner said. “We’d love to have more people come down this year and help appreciate that part of the river.”

Woodstock giving residents reusable grocery bags in eco-friendly campaign

City will distribute reusable bags as part of environmental initiative

Published: Monday, Aug. 29, 2016 12:45 a.m. CDT


(Sarah Nader)

WOODSTOCK – The city wants to make it easier for Woodstock residents to opt for cloth over paper or plastic.

The city will buy 15,000 customized reusable grocery bags and distribute them to residents in an effort to reduce plastic waste. Woodstock’s Environmental and Culture and Social Awareness commissions are leading the initiative. The bags are expected in November and the commissions also are working on marketing strategy, community education and a website dedicated to the initiative and local sponsors.

About 9,000 of the bags will go to Woodstock homes and the rest will be available to buy at City Hall and potentially partnering stores, said Laura Crain, chairwoman of the joint commissions.

The project doesn’t have any definite sponsors yet, but there has been interest in the program, she said.

“It’s not just our main, big box retailers but small businesses that are very interested in the option,” she said. “It can actually be cost saving for retailers when customers use reusable bags. … I don’t think the community will ever get to 100 percent plastic free, but we want to see it reduced and the impact on community diminished.”

The McHenry County Board in July declared August “Bring Your Own Bag” month. That campaign is headed up by an advocacy group with the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County. The group is working with Woodstock and has prompted similar initiatives in Crystal Lake, Cary and Algonquin, among others.

“Of course, the bring your own bag proclamation should be the beginning of changing behavior,” said Cynthia Kanner, with the defenders.

The group is working to draft an ordinance that would have retailers charge customers for paper and plastic bags, similar to Aldi stores, she said. The group would ask different towns in McHenry County to consider the idea.

“Charging has been proven to be a good deterrent,” she said. “And people are beginning to realize that some stores will give you 5 cents off if you bring your own bag. I definitely see more people bringing their own bags, but there are still way too many shopping carts coming out of the stores with tons of plastic.”


Read the article HERE.

Incandescent Bulbs: Use or Lose Them

If you have a bunch of incandescent bulbs you think you should use up before replacing them with LED, think again.  Those old bulbs are not worth the electricity they’ll use, so dump ’em. Unlike compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, they don’t contain hazardous materials. The bulb materials are so low in value that recycling doesn’t help.

One 60-watt incandescent bulb, in a typical 1,000-hour life span, would be responsible for emitting more than 40 pounds of carbon dioxide. And one would emit as much as 90 pounds in places that rely more heavily on coal to generate electricity.   An LED producing about the same amount of light emits only a fourth as much CO2 and would be responsible for about just 10 pounds.

Cost-wise, incandescents burn out before you turn ’em on.

BYOB – Bring Your Own Bag

Need reasons to choose your own reusable bag?

On average, ONE supermarket goes through 60,500,000 paper bags per year!

The U.S. cuts down 14 million trees a year to supply the raw material to make paper shopping bags.

It takes 13% more energy to make a single paper bag than to make two plastic bags.

Paper bag production involves the use of chemicals and high temperatures, and it releases toxins into the atmosphere at nearly the same rate as plastic bag production.

Paper bags weigh almost ten times as much as plastic ones, meaning that more fuel is required to ship them to stores.

Despite being highly recyclable, only 20% of paper bags end up being recycled, while the rest share a fate with their plastic brethren.

Finally, the average reusable bag has a lifespan equal to that of more than 700 disposable  bags.  One person using reusable bags over their lifetime would remove more than 22,000 plastic bags from the environment.  Isn’t that an even better incentive?

The Power is in the Purchase

Recycling is important, but to make real and significant impacts on our environment, we need to reduce our waste.  And, of course, the power is in the purchase.

At first, maybe you thought buying things in plastic was a good thing because it could be recycled.  But in actuality plastic is being collected for recycling, but what is being recycled is very very low.  There just isn’t a big market for recycled plastic.

So instead, when you can, choose products that don’t include plastic, have lesser amounts, and better yet, none at all.  Chose products made from natural materials like wood, metal, paper, cotton.  For bottled drinks, refuse plastic and consider aluminum which can be recycled over and over again.  There is a good market for recycled aluminum.  Need more?  Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.

Recycling Drive – Aug 13 in Marengo

On Saturday, August 13th, the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County (EDMC) will conduct a recycling collection from 9am until noon at Marengo City Hall, 132 East Prairie St, Marengo, IL. They continue to collect certain items which are not usually accepted by curbside programs, and which would be harmful to the environment if put in a landfill.

The group will NOT be accepting Styrofoam at their drives because there currently is nowhere for them to recycle it. EDMC is continuing to look for alternatives.

Because of the costs to get these items properly disposed of, a monetary donation will be requested, with specific fees for fluorescent bulbs, batteries, monitors or televisions.

-Fluorescent tubes (50¢ to $1 each)

-Batteries (household, rechargeable, car, and button) (50¢ per pound of household batteries.)

-Cloth items—clothing, linens, or just plain rags, clean and in a bag. You can also bring shoes, tied together by their laces and placed in the bag.

-Re-useable bubble wrap

-Electronics – televisions, computers, phones, printers, electronic toys, microwaves, etc. (most anything that plugs in or runs on batteries) A donation is requested to recycle TVs and computer monitors (50¢ per pound up to maximum of $40 per set)

-VHS & cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, etc.

-Aluminum cans

Donations and fees offset the costs of transportation and proper recycling. EDMC is a local non-profit, and receives no government funding to offer this service to the community.

Environmental Defenders’ recycling drives are held on the second Saturday of each month, at various locations in the county. For information about the recycling schedule and types of materials accepted, visit the group’s website at or find it on Facebook at

An alternate site for electronics (including televisions & monitors) & batteries is Chicago Logistic in Elgin 847-429-1926.

It’s BYOBag month in McHenry County! Tip #1

BYOB – Bring Your Own Bag

Need reasons why it’s important to choose reusable bags?  Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year. The cost to recycle plastic bags outweighs their value, so most recycling facilities will not take them. Instead of being recycled, they are thrown out with the rest of the trash.  Plastic bags make up more than 10% of washed-up debris that pollutes the U.S. coastline. Discarded plastic bags have turned up as far north as the Arctic Circle and as far south as the Falkland Islands.   Finally, the average reusable bag has a lifespan equal to that of more than 700 disposable plastic bags.  One person using reusable bags over their lifetime would remove more than 22,000 plastic bags from the environment.  Isn’t that an even better incentive?