Environmentally Friendly Tips

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) has compiled a short list of the best environmentally friendly practices that can be followed now and throughout the year:
  1. Conserve water. When brushing your teeth or washing your hands, turn the water off until needed. Fill washing machines and dishwashers completely before starting the laundry or dish washing cycles. If you are washing dishes by hand, turn the water off while rinsing and instead, fill one sink with rinse water. In addition to saving thousands of gallons every month, you will be saving the energy that is used to process, pump and heat the water.
  2. Minimize use of water before and during storms. Reducing residential water use during rain events allows maximum room for stormwater to enter the sewers and could prevent flooding in your neighborhood.
  3. Dispose of unwanted pharmaceuticals in an environmentally-friendly manner. Sewage treatment facilities are not designed to process medications that have been flushed or poured down drains. Instead, seek out organized pharmaceutical collection programs where unwanted over-the-counter and prescription medications can be properly disposed (pet meds too!); the MWRD partners twice a year with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to collect unwanted drugs.
  4. Pickup pet waste. Pet waste serves as a food source for disease-spreading pests and contains organic matter and bacteria which can make its way to our waterways and threaten human health and wildlife. It only takes a moment to secure the waste in a bag and discard it into the garbage.
  5. Reuse or properly dispose of plastic grocery bags. It is important that inlets and waterways leading to sewers remain free of debris in order to prevent flooding.
  6. Pick up any remaining lawn waste to prevent area flooding. Grass clippings, leaves, flowers, twigs, brush and tree limbs can block sewers and clog drains. 
  7. Purchase and install a rain barrel or two next spring to help minimize flooding and reduce the amount of water running into sewers. They are available from the MWRD for $58 plus tax and includes delivery. City of Chicago residents may apply for a rebate from the Sustainable Backyards program.