Here are links to other stuff

Once established a pollinator garden is a treat to observe. The constant buzz of the bees, a hovering hummingbird, the slow crunch of the caterpillar and the eventual emergence of a new butterfly offer hours of enjoyment for gardeners of all ages.  There are many great resources for starting your own pollinator garden, check out these links.


Here’s a snippet from Seven Generations Ahead informative one-pagers about composting. The whole site contains many wonderful resources to help you learn and educate.

“Composting is nature’s way of recycling. It is the process of converting organic materials, such as food scraps and yard waste trimmings, into a dark, earthy-smelling soil amendment thereby preserving valuable nutrient-rich resources. Food scraps and yard waste may be processed on-site, or through a commercial program to include meat, bones, fats, foodsoiled paper and other certified compostable items.”


Some products that can help you reduce plastic include:



  • Plastic bags and thin plastic packaging should be avoided when possible, but many can be recycled local supermarkets in the plastic film collection bins. Plastic bags CANNOT be recycled curbside. For a list of accepted plastic film items, check here. Plastic film includes, shopping bags, product overwrap (like around toilet paper and paper towels), newspaper bags, bread bags, dry cleaning bags, air pillows and food storage bags.

  • The SWALCO odds and ends guide has information about recycling things like, appliances, batteries, asbestos, mercury, paint, smoke alarms and all types all light bulbs.

Here are more simple swaps you can make to use less.

Why zero waste?

Think about your average picnic. Plastic tableclothes, plastic cutlery, plastic cups, bottled water, juice boxes, plastic bags around every sandwich, individual bags of chips, plates that could be paper, styrofoam or more plastic, the list goes on. All in the name of convenience, then, straight to the landfill where it will last virtually forever. But how convenient was driving to the store to buy it all, hauling it into the house, unwrapping it, tossing out the packaging and packing it up just to throw away somewhere else? Not to mention the money wasted buying things you already have at home. By creating a ready to fill picnic kit, you can have a trash-free meal to go in no time.

Our pre-portioned, pre-bottled, disposable culture is wreaking havoc on the planet and we’re drowning in plastic. Recycling is not enough, many plastics are low grade and cannot be recycled, many places don’t have a recycling bin so plastic gets tossed in the trash, other countries will no longer accept our unwanted recycling so it goes to the landfill. Pre-packaged food and drinks also add tons of food waste every year with gargantuan portions, often of 2 or more servings per container. All this waste contributes thousands of pounds of greenhouse gasses to our atmosphere every year.

  • Stainless steel bottles keep drinks cold, are dishwasher safe and can get dropped over and over again.

  • Second hand cutlery from thrift stores or garage sales takes the worry out of losing the “good stuff”. Or try these sets of reusable cutlery.

  • Cloth napkins and tablecloths are super absorbent and less likely to fly away.

  • A cooler or insulated bag keeps everything fresh and carries all the dirty dishes home without spills.  

  • Sign up for a free Home Energy Assessment from Comed and learn how to reduce your energy costs and get free and discounted products for your home.

  • Confused about all the different light bulbs out there, learn about the options here.

  • Faith in Place

  • ISEA Illinois Solar Energy Association

  • Comed solar energy info, including the new Solar Home Calculator

Here are some alternative energy suppliers and for more information about how it works check the CUB website.

  • Drive Electric US 

  • ComEd electric vehicle information

  • ChargePoint has a network of charging stations all over the country and a handy app to find them. They also install home charging stations.

Find our group on Facebook, HP Schools Compost and ask to join if you’d like to help out or email us at

Information will be updated as we grow.

Leaf Blowers

Gas-powered leaf blowers are banned in Highland Park from May 15 to October 1. According to the Sierra Club, "... under normal usage conditions, a leaf blower two-stroke engine emits nearly 300 times the hydrocarbons of a pickup truck, 93 times the hydrocarbons of a sedan, and many times as much carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides as well. If you drove the pickup truck for 3,900 miles, the amount of hydrocarbons emitted would be equivalent to using the two-stroke leaf blower for only about half an hour of yard work."

More information about the hazards of leaf blowers is here. The American Green Zone Alliance is working to educate people about the hazards of gas-powered lawn equipment, and to encourage landscape contractors to switch to cleaner technologies. We haven't found any local landscape companies that use only electric equipment (mowers and blowers). If you use a landscape service, be sure that they are using electric-powered leaf blowers. If you see landscapers using gas-powered blowers, you can report the company by calling the non emergency number of the Highland Park Police with the location and the name of the landscape company.