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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Press Release

Contact Information: Johnna Kelly 630-407-6022

Thursday, October 27, 2011

DuPage County Recognized by Governor Quinn with Environmental Sustainability Award

Recognized as a leader for its commitment to environmental excellence through innovative sustainability practices, DuPage County received the Governor’s Sustainability Award today in Champaign. It is the first county to receive this award.

“Implementing energy efficiency upgrades, fuel savings, pollution and waste reductions and other sustainability improvements requires vision, strong leadership and dedication of individuals throughout an organization. I applaud your prioritization of these important objectives and your accomplishments in these areas,” said Governor Pat Quinn.

DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said he is pleased to receive the award on the 25th anniversary of the Governor’s Sustainability Awards Program.

“We are honored to have our efforts recognized under the leadership of Environmental Committee Chairman Jeff Redick and to be in good company with like-minded, award-winning DuPage organizations such as Argonne National Labs and the City of Naperville along with previous award winners such as McDonalds. The award is a testament that government, businesses and residents alike can meet our social and economic needs while minimizing the impacts on the environment for future generations,” said Cronin.

Throughout the past several years, DuPage County has implemented several sustainability initiatives that have reduced emissions, saved energy, increased air quality, conserved resources and diverted waste lessening its impact on the environment.

“For more than 20 years, DuPage County has been a leader in conservation and environmental protection. We have implemented several initiatives not only because they are good for the environment, but also because they are good fiscal policies,” said Redick. “Today’s recognition serves as a validation for our efforts to preserve the environment for future generations.”

The Governor’s Sustainability Awards program recognizes public and private organizations in the State of Illinois for significant achievements in protecting the environment through sustainable practices. The awards program is administered by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois.

DuPage County’s initiatives have impacted the environment by a reduction in energy consumption, recycling waste materials and utilizing resources in an environmentally responsible manner.

In an effort to increase traffic flow, reduce congestion and save fuel and energy, DuPage County is optimizing its traffic signal timing programs at 58 intersections on major arterial roadways and expressway interchanges. The upgrades are expected to yield an annual savings of 2.32 million hours driving time for motorists, 232,000 gallons of fuel consumed and 40,600 pounds of carbon in the atmosphere.

Since developing its first Solid Waste Management Plan in 1991, DuPage County has continually strived to generate less waste and divert it from landfills. The DuPage County Convalescent Center recently replaced polystyrene foam plates and cups in the cafeteria with reusable dish ware. Redick praised the center for identifying a cost-reducing project that will have the added benefit of energy savings and source reduction.

Electronics are the fastest growing component of waste disposed in landfills. More than 2 million pounds of electronic waste has been diverted from landfills since 2008 as a result of the County’s free Electronics Recycling Program.

The County has also partnered with the Illinois Environment Protection Agency to offer a Latex Paint Exchange Program. More than 6,200 residents have donated unused paint for re-blending and reuse. Paint that is not recyclable is hauled away for proper disposal. Several hundreds of gallons of paint have been reused through this initiative.

The County made several energy-efficiency improvements during 2010 including installing occupancy sensors, retrofitting light fixtures and optimizing HVAC systems. The projects resulted in an annual energy savings of 2.4 million kilowatts in addition to an annual reduction in natural gas consumption by 2,373 therms.

The Rx Drop Box Program allows residents to take their unwanted medicine to 13 DuPage police departments. More than 5 tons of unused and unwanted medications have been properly disposed of which in return keeps these hazardous waste items out of our waterways and soil.

Redick said DuPage County has more innovative sustainable programs on the horizon.

“While the award is a commendable recognition for our accomplishments to date, we will continue to strive to reduce our impact on the environment while providing the best government services,” he said. “In this unstable economic climate where other governmental entities are cutting back on environmental staff and programs, we plan to continue our green efforts by working with staff, businesses and residents to implement more sustainable programs and setting an example of how we can reduce our environmental footprint in a fiscally responsible manner.”

More details of the County’s green initiatives can be found at dupageco.org/recycling.