1. Provide clear sorting for recycling and achieve a 50% recycling diversion rate.

Diverting waste from the landfill to recycling can conserve natural resources and landfill space, while also reducing disposal costs. Get your free recycling container and be sure to put up appropriate signage.
Complete the “Calculating Waste Generation” worksheet.

Contact Groot to decide which recycling container size and collection frequency is right for your business depending on the worksheet. The City of Evanston website has signage you can put up with recycling bins and be sure to educate staff on what is and is not recyclable.

City of Evanston Recycling Guidelines

Request a free 95 gallon recycling cart

SWANCC’s Recycling Bins and Containers
Completed “Calculating Waste Generation” worksheet with pictures of recycling bins
2. Implement a composting program.

Composting provides businesses with a method to dispose of a large portion of waste in a way that benefits the environment. Organic material is converted into a soil conditioner that has valuable nutrients.
All businesses are eligible to receive food waste composting service through the City’s exclusive hauler, Collective Resource. Work with Collective Resource to choose a pick up plan that works for your business and be sure to educate staff, put up signage, and identify any waste that can be composted.

Collective Resource

IFSC Restaurant Compost Toolkit

EPA’s Food Waste Assessment
Collective Resource invoice and description of composting program
3. Get a free, on-site facility assessment for your business from ComEd, Nicor Gas, or a third party and implement at least one recommended action.

ComEd and Nicor Gas can help your business find energy-saving opportunities by doing a walk through and providing a report detailing energy efficiency projects with estimated energy savings, cost savings, project cost, and incentives.
Contacting ComEd and/or Nicor Gas in the beginning of the recognition process will help your business achieve multiple sustainable actions and find long term money savings.

Any facility assessment done within the last two years qualifies.

ComEd Facility Assessment

Nicor Gas Facility Assesment
The facility assessment report from ComEd and/ or Nicor along with receipts of implemented action

4. Purchase renewable energy certificates or carbon offsets from your utility.

Buying renewable energy will offset the CO2 emissions from your business’ electricity and natural gas usage, reduce air pollution, and reduce water environmental impacts. Purchasing certificates is a simple way to offset your carbon footprint and support clean energy.
Purchase 100% renewable energy. Find a certified renewable energy provider to ensure credibility and confirmation of the product’s environmental value.

EPA Guide to Purchasing Green Power


Energy Sage Guide to Buying RECs
Bill of purchase or utility bill
5. Replace 50% of incandescent light bulbs with LED light bulbs.

Energy efficient lighting can help reduce your energy consumption and save your business money since efficient lighting technologies require significantly less energy and have a longer lifespan.
Conduct a lighting audit or get a ComEd facility assessment. ComEd also offers discounts and rebates on energy efficient lighting.

ComEd Facility Assessment

ComEd Lighting Incentives
Photographs, invoices, or receipts of the bulbs purchased
6. Install lighting controls, such as occupancy sensors in spaces of variable occupancy, daylighting controls, and time clocks.

Turning off unnecessary lighting can save energy and money.
Identify the most appropriate areas for lighting sensors – think about common areas such as a bathroom, closets, conference rooms, kitchens, lounges, etc. Daylighting controls can be helpful in spaces with reasonable amounts of sunlight and can adjust artificial lighting levels automatically.

ComEd Choosing the Right Bulbs

ComEd Lighting Incentives
Documentation of the purchase, installation receipts and/or photographs of the lighting controls
7. Make a policy requiring the purchase of ENERGY STAR, EPEAT, and WaterSense qualified equipment and appliances.

ENERGY STAR labeling program helps identify the most efficient models for appliances and equipment. EPEAT registered products address material selection, design for product longevity, energy conservation and end of life management. WaterSense aims to protect the water supply and promote and enhance the market for water-efficient products and services. Efficient equipment can save energy, water, and money.
Meet with staff who are responsible for purchasing appliances and discuss ENERGY STAR, EPEAT, and WaterSense equipment with vendors. Draft a purchasing guideline and implement the new practice when it is time to purchase new equipment or appliances.



Copy of the policy
8. Replace all pre-rinse spray valves with low flow ones.

Low flow pre-rinse spray valves can reduce water consumption and energy cost without sacrificing the functionality. They are easy to install and will save your business money.
Install pre-rinse spray valves with a target flow rate of 1.28 gallon per minute (gpm). The EPA’s WaterSense label can help identify low flow pre-rinse spray valves, but you can also work with Nicor Gas for free pre-rinse spray valves.

EPA’s WaterSense Program

EPA’s WaterSense Pre-Rinse Spray Valves

Free products from Nicor Gas
Receipt of brand and model of pre-rinse spray valve
9. Replace all bathroom sink faucets with low flow faucet aerators.

Demand for water has increased, but the supply is not stable and is vulnerable. Replacing equipment with low flow equipment can achieve cost savings and reduce risk when local supplies are not stable.
Install low flow faucet aerators with a target flow rate at 1.5 gallon per minute (gpm) maximum and a minimum of 0.8 gpm.

If you do not own the building, consider connecting with fellow tenants and your property manager to discuss the benefits and low cost of switching to low flow products.

EPA’s WaterSense Bathroom Faucets

Free products from Nicor Gas

EPA Water Assessment Tools
Receipt of brand and model of sink faucet aerators
10. Utilize green infrastructure to decrease total volume of stormwater runoff.

Stormwater runoff is a major cause of water pollution since it carries trash, bacteria, heavy metals, and other pollutants from the urban landscape. Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and other natural processes to manage water.
This can be accomplished with native plantings, planter boxes, rain gardens, permeable pavers, or rain barrels.

Native Plant List
A picture of green infrastructure on your property
11. Switch all-purpose cleaning products to low toxic cleaning products.

Avoiding toxic cleaners can reduce or eliminate health hazards for employees, improve indoor air quality, and protect the environment. Many cleaning products contain ammonia, chlorine, and phosphate.
Any Green Seal, Safer Choice, ECOLOGO, or GoodGuide product rated 8 and above meet guidelines to be non-toxic, but also offer the same cleaning performance as toxic counterparts.


EPA’s Safer Choice Product List

Green Seal Certification

Pictures of products or receipt of purchase with Product names
Action Resources Documentation
12. Identify one disposable item to be eliminated, switched to a reusable option, or provided only upon request.

On average, Americans generate 3.2 million tons of disposable food packing a year and less than 1% is recycled. Help reduce your business’s environmental footprint by switching from non-renewable petroleum products to reusable options. Many businesses who make the switch realize cost savings.
Make a list of all the disposable items in your restaurant (e.g. straws, condiments, to-go containers, utensils, cups, plates, etc.). Identify which items could be easily offered only upon request or at a communal station instead of handed out with each order. If you have dishwashing capacity, also consider switching disposable items to reusable. Reusables are an initial upfront cost, but will save you money in the long end.

Inform employees of any changes and why to make the switch successful.

Reusable Food Serviceware Guide

EPA’s Guide to Reducing Wasted Food and Packaging

Shedd the Straw
A policy, employee letter, or pictures with explanation of switch
13. Eliminate the use of Styrofoam and plastic bags, minimize the amount of packaging, and only provide utensils, napkins, and condiments upon request for to-go orders.

Plastic bags cost retailers more than $4 billion dollars and are used on average for 12 minutes. They are hard to recycle, become litter, and break down into toxic smaller pieces.

Styrofoam is made from petroleum and the production causes air pollution and health hazards for workers. It is not biodegradable and takes up a lot of space in landfills and can leach toxic chemicals into food if heated in the microwave.
Identify all the materials needed for to-go orders and switch Styrofoam packaging to compostable or recyclable options. Switch any plastic bags to paper bags.

Inform employees of the new policy with utensils, napkins, and condiments only provided upon request and inform customers of your commitment to waste reduction.

Information on Plastic Bag Bans

BPI’s Website
A policy, employee newsletter, or pictures with explanations of sustainable to-go process
14. Provide at least one dish on the menu with a Fair trade product, organic, or local ingredient.

Fair trade ensures that the product was sourced ethically, which supports workers in the supply chain and the environment. Organic foods are grown without the use of toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, irradiation, sewage sludge, and genetic engineering, which limit the need for chemicals that pollute waterways, exploit resources, and cause cancer in farmers. Buying locally saves energy from limiting transportation, waste and natural resources from packaging, and land from industrial development.
Fair trade food must be Fair-Trade Certified, organic food must be USDA Organic approved, and local food must be within 100 miles or less from farm to plate.

Fair-Trade Certified

USDA Organic
Receipt or proof of purchase
15. Purchase 3 paper products with at least 30% post-consumer recycled material (e.g. printing paper, paper towels, bags, napkins, etc.).

Producing paper is economically and environmentally costly. Buying napkins, toilet paper, office paper, and other paper products made of recycled content can reduce the use of raw materials.
Meet with your procurement department and draft a new policy for purchasing paper products. Identify all the paper products you buy. Ask suppliers to help you find eco-friendly paper products.

EPA’s Paper and Paper Products Procurement Guidelines

WWF’s 6 Steps to Responsible Paper Purchasing
A copy of any recycled content purchasing policies, receipts and/or photographs of 3 recycled paper products
16. Reuse or work with vendors to minimize and/or take back product packaging where possible.

Finding products with less and without unnecessary packing will reduce the amount of waste you have to pay to dispose of. Some vendors are even willing to take back product packaging.
Ask your supplier if they have a takeback policy or alternate packaging. For example, some suppliers can bring milk in reusable glass containers and take them back for reuse. Also consider reusing the packaging in your own operations. A copy of the policy or a picture with a description of the waste reduction, reuse, or take-back program
Action Resources Documentation
17. Conduct a survey of employee commute and identify if it would be beneficial to install a bike rack or enroll in the RTA Transit Benefit Fare Program.

Encouraging employees to take ecofriendly modes of transportation can ease traffic congestion and reduce emissions from car tailpipes
Ask employees how they commute to work and how you can help encourage public transportation, biking, or walking. If a lot of employees use public transportation, consider enrolling in the RTA Transit Benefit Fare Program. If a lot of employees bike to work, call 311 for a bike rack to be installed for free.

RTA Transit Benefit Fare Program

City of Evanston Transportation

Shared-Use Mobility Center’s Mapping Toolkit
Employee survey and proof of bike rack or enrollment
18. Implement 3 strategies that show you are an Age-Friendly Business.

Older adults are the fastest-growing segment of the population in the country. Make your business AgeFriendly at little to no cost.
Read Evanston’s Age-Friendly Business Handbook and complete any of the 3 items on the checklist on page 3.

Age-Friendly Business Handbook
A list of the Age-Friendly actions listed on page 3 of the handbook that your business is doing with pictures from your business showing them
19. Donate unserved food to food kitchens, shelters or other community programs quarterly.

Feeding hungry people can help the community and reduce the amount of food that goes into landfills
Connect with local soup kitchens and food banks to see how you can donate excess food.

EPA’s Sustainable Management of Food

Greater Chicago Food Depository

Good Samaritan Act
Proof of donation through pictures, email, thank you note
20. Implement a hiring policy that prioritizes Evanston residents and have at least 30% of your business’s payroll include Evanston residents.

A local hiring policy enhances local economic development and helps Evanston grow as a community.
Consider hiring an Evanston resident next time you need laborers, apprentices, or journeymen.

M/W/EBE’s Local Employment Program
A list of your employees and an indication of who is an Evanston resident