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 sta 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. 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 and 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

3. 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.
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
4. 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
5. 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
6. Change the settings on all computers and printers to go into sleep mode after 10 minutes of inactivity.

Configure devices to automatically enter lowpower mode when idle. It also uses more energy to have a screen saver than having the screen switch off after 10 minutes of inactivity. A copy of any office policies or screenshots of your default computer and printer settings
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.



A copy of the policy
8. 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.

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.
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.

EPA’s WaterSense Bathroom Faucets

Free products from Nicor Gas

EPA Water Assessment Tools
Receipt of brand and model of sink faucet aerators
9. 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.

Benefits of Green Infrastructure

Native Plant List
A picture of green infrastructure on your property
10. 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

Receipt of purchase of products with names
11. Hair Salons – Switch salon sprayers to water-conserving models.

Traditional hair sprayers can use up to 5.0 gallons per minute (gpm) of water and since they use hot water, more energy efficient designs can be costeffective.
Check to see what the flow rate of your current sprayers are. A water-conserving model is anything that is 1.1 gallon per minute or less.

You can schedule a facility assessment with Nicor Gas and receive free salon sprayers.

Nicor Gas Free Products
Receipt of purchase with product name and model
Action Resources Documentation
12. 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.

Collection Resource

IFSC Restaurant Compost Toolkit

What is Compost?

Backyard Composting

Collective resource invoice and description of composting program
13. Retailers—Eliminate the use of plastic bags.

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.
Be sure to ask customers first if they want their purchase bagged and if so, provide a paper bag made of post-consumer waste or a BPI-certified compostable bag.

Information on Plastic Bag Bans

Pictures of paper bags being used
14. Calculate the amount of paper your business uses and implement at least one strategy to reduce paper usage and cost.

Reducing paper usage can reduce unnecessary paper waste, save storage space, and money. Producing paper is economically and environmentally costly.
Here are suggested ways to reduce paper use:
  • Make double-sided printing default
  • Collect a pile of scrap paper for people to use it for notes
  • Eliminate printing of emails and other resources unless absolutely necessary
  • Circulate documents and memos electronically instead of using hard copies
  • Put up signs at printers to remind employees to only print what is necessary

EPA’s Paper and Paper Products Procurement Guidelines

WWF’s 6 Steps to Responsible Paper Purchasing

Paper Calculator
A copy of any recycled content purchasing policies, receipts and/or photographs of recycled paper products
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.

Paper Calculator

WWF Save Paper
A copy of any paperless office policies or screenshots of your default printer settings
16. 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
17. Eliminate individual, single-use water bottles of water for employees and guests.

Water bottles are costly and majority end up in the landfill.
Implement a policy to not purchase bottled waters for employees, meetings, and/or events. Consider installing water fountains or water coolers. If you have meetings, buy water pitchers and reusable glasses.

Ban The Bottle
A picture of water fountain or a copy of a newsletter, email, or some type of business-wide communication that states a policy that prohibits the use of single use plastic water bottles
Action Resources Documentation
18. 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 eco-friendly 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

Shared-Use Mobility Center’s Mapping Toolkit
Employee survey and proof of bike rack or enrollment
19. 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
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