Environmental Sustainability in Northbrook

Northbrook's Climate Action Plan

Northbrook's Climate Action Plan (CAP) is Northbrook's mission to reduce carbon emissions and foster a sustainable community for all. This is a Village-wide goal of 35% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and 80% by 2040, in alignment with LEED for Cities. The Village Board adopted the Climate Action Plan and established a Sustainability Commission on August 10, 2021.  Learn more.


Leaf Blower Regulations Working Group

The Village of Northbrook, along with neighboring municipalities, participates in a Leaf Blower Working Group to study the impacts of gas-powered leaf blowers, alternative technologies, and how communities can mitigate the impacts of these devices. Click here for more details.

Timely Tips for Going Green: Spring 2023

Registration is now open for the 12th annual National Bike & Roll to School Day on May 3, 2023! Bike & Roll to School Day invites participants to celebrate the joy of active commuting encouraging children and teens to be more active while having fun! Register at https://bit.ly/40viHyn 

Bike N Roll to School

Get ready for Earth Hour! By switching off your lights on March 25 at 8:30pm, you can join millions of others in 190 countries conserving energy in support of our planet. Earth Hour is now one of the world's largest grassroots movements for the environment. Learn more and participate at https://bit.ly/3Zddv0S 

Earth Hour

Northbrook has been recognized as a 2022 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation! Northbrook has been a Tree City for 29 years and a Growth Award recipient for 23 years. The Tree City USA Growth Award recognizes environmental improvement and a high level of tree care in Northbrook. More information on the program is available at arborday.org/TreeCityUSA 

Arbor Day 2023

Learn how geothermal heat pumps can save you up to $1,750 a year on energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint by 4.5 metric tons of carbon emissions yearly! Attend a free, public 1-hour informational session at 7 pm on May 23, where you'll learn the basics of geothermal and its financial and environmental implications. Northbrook has partnered with the Midwest Renewable Energy Association to coordinate a geothermal group buy in the Chicagoland area, which can significantly reduce the up-front costs of installing geothermal in your home or business. Please visit https://skokielibrary.info/.../geothermal-heat-pumps-for... to learn more and register. 

Grow Geo

Slow Mow May

Don’t spring into mowing too fast when the May showers let up! During Slow Mow May, Northbrook encourages residents to reduce mowing and support our local ecology. Scientists recommend mowing less frequently (once every 2-3 weeks), allowing early-blooming flowers to become available to pollinators during a time of year when food sources may be scarce. To participate, please register by providing your address to sustainability@northbrook.il.us.  

Slow Mow

Save the date: Celebrate Pollinator Week
Wednesday, June 21 from 7am-1pm @ Meadow Plaza

Pollinators such as beneficial bees and butterflies are declining due to loss of habitat and climate change. Planting native wildflower and grass species can help! For free plants and to learn more, stop by the Village tent on opening day of the Farmers Market. 

Milkweed Giveaway

We're sending a huge thank you to the more than 20 volunteers that came out on April 1 to Somme Woods to kick off Earth Month. The group spent time cutting invasive buckthorn and pole trees in a bur oak savanna restoration area of the woods. 


Northfield Township Recycling Program Opens for the Season April 10.
The 2023 Northfield Township Recycling Program will open Monday, April 10, 2023 through November 3, 2023 from 7am to 3pm, Monday - Friday, excluding holidays, at 237 Melvin Drive in Northbrook.



Do you want to do your part to reduce greenhouse gases? It is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
 First, join the Waste Management subscription program for yard waste and food scraps by calling 800-964-8988. The cost is about $12 a month depending on bin size. At the same time you can downsize your garbage to the smallest (and cheapest) bin, which is a 35 gallon bin for just under $15.50 per month or just under $14 if you are 65 years of age or older.

Second, stop buying those green yard waste stickers at $2.12 each. There is also no need to buy those paper lawn bags because you can compost food scraps and your yard waste in your new Compost Bin, which is also known as organic collections.

Third, tell your neighbors that you are doing your part to reduce waste going into the landfill and greenhouse gases because landfills are the third largest manmade source of methane, which accounts for 11% of the estimated total global methane emissions. Food discards and residuals that decompose in landfills release methane, a greenhouse gas that is at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This fact makes food waste a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. 
 Waste Management will resume weekly pickups for yard waste/organics from the start of April through November 30. Yard waste/organics pickups will occur on the same day as the resident’s regular pickup day.  Residents can select from two programs, either the year-round Subscription Service or the Seasonal Sticker Program. To sign up or learn more about the program please call 800-964-8988 or visit the Village’s Refuse & Recycling Services page and this composting guide.

Food waste is an area where we can all take action in our personal lives to reduce our environmental impact! Not only does wasting food lose us money, it wastes the energy and other natural resources that went into growing or making it. Additionally, most food waste ends up rotting in landfill, producing huge amounts of greenhouse gases! In Northbrook, you can combat food waste by composting with Waste Management. Learn more at https://www.northbrook.il.us/829/Refuse-Recycling-Services.

In anticipation of Earth Month in April, the Village reminds all residents that Northbrook is a member of the NSEA Consortium which provides electricity bill savings and easy access to community solar farms. Solar farms are single installations that are shared by many subscribers. Each subscriber receives credits that reduce the amount of electricity they are charged for each month. The average Northbrook resident saves $194/year through this program while benefiting the planet!
Join the waitlist for enrollment at northshorecommunitysolar.com.  

Timely Tips for Going Green: Winter 2023

Save the planet and save money on energy costs!

Families can take advantage of a host of new tax credits that can save them up to 30% off on new solar panels, heat pumps, insulation, windows, doors, and more! Stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and do it all with help from the US Department of Energy.

Energy Assessment


Over-salting sidewalks is a waste of resources and harmful to the environment. Salt can run off and enter the water environment and impact aquatic life. 

1. Shovel first. Salt should only be used after the snow is removed and only in areas needed for safety.

2. Size matters. More salt does not mean more melting. A 12-ounce coffee mug of salt should be enough for a 20-foot driveway or 10 sidewalk squares.

3. Spread. Distribute salt evenly, not in clumps. Clumped salt is wasted salt!

4. Sweep. If salt is leftover on the ground after the ice melts, then too much salt was used. Sweep up leftover salt to keep it out of local rivers and streams.

January 5 is National Bird Day! Northbrook is lucky to receive visitors from beautiful and rare birds due to our mature tree canopy and forest preserves. A great way to celebrate birds is to volunteer with the Somme Woods Community for ecological restoration. They host volunteer events almost every day – even during the winter months. Email sommepreserve@gmail.com to get involved.

Baby Birds

You may be eligible to apply for a $4,000 rebate through the IEPA Electric Vehicle Rebate Program! Applications will be accepted until January 31, 2023. Rebates of $1,500 are offered for buying an all-electric motorcycle. The rebate application must be postmarked within 90 days of the vehicle purchase date. 
Rented or leased vehicles do not qualify for the rebate. These rebates are the second round that the IEPA is processing, which were authorized by the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). To learn more visit www2.illinois.gov.


Bring any burnt out or unwanted holiday lights to the Village for recycling through January 31. Lights can be dropped off in the Village Hall lobby on weekdays from 8:30am-4:30pm, at the Fleet Maintenance Garage behind Village Hall on weekdays from 7am-3pm, or during regular Electronics Recycling events on the first Tuesday and Saturday of the month. 

cat with holiday lights

From Tuesday, December 27 until Friday, January 6, Waste Management will place a dumpster in the Fleet Maintenance Garage (1227 Cedar) parking lot behind Village Hall. This dumpster is for cardboard only. If the dumpster is contaminated with other materials, the cardboard will be taken to the landfill as “contaminated” recycling. Please flatten all cardboard before emptying it into the dumpster. Residents are responsible for removing items from their vehicles.  


During the month of January, recycle your organic holiday tree, wreaths, and garland by placing it at the curb on your recycling day. Remove all lights, garland, and decorations, and make sure your tree is easily accessible at the curb. Please note that dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in your home or garage or be placed outside against your home.


Keep an Eye Out: Updates from MC Squared Energy. During the week of December 19, 2022, MC2 will mail letters to roughly 2,000 households. Letters will be sent to those that recently moved to Northbrook, or now qualify for the program based on electricity use patterns. If you receive an opt-out letter, no action is necessary, and you will be automatically enrolled in the program. MC2 will not solicit door to door or initiate a phone call about this matter. Do not give your ComEd bill to anyone at your door. Call MC Squared Services at (855) 697-0286 for more details.

Northbrook Reminders

Looking to dispose of the packaging from your holiday purchases? The Village has you covered! If you cannot find ways to repurpose the materials yourself, see below for a Northbrook specific guide on the “do’s and don’ts” of disposal for common package types.


As your holiday gatherings begin, see below for tips on how to recycle your gift wrapping! Gift wrap is only recyclable when it is made of 100% paper. To determine whether your gift wrapping is coated with plastic, try a rip test. If you can’t easily rip through the paper, then it is most likely made with plastic. If it does rip easily then it is probably glossy paper, and can be disposed of through regular recycling collection.

gift recycling

Save energy and money by using the free weatherization and water-saving kits from Nicor Gas! You can also sign up for a no-cost home assessment to receive additional free energy-saving products and professional installation from one of their energy advisors. Learn more at http://www.nicorgas.com/.../free-products-and-services.html


You may be eligible to apply for a $4,000 rebate through the IEPA Electric Vehicle Rebate Program! Applications will be accepted until January 31, 2023. The rebate application must be postmarked within 90 days of the vehicle purchase date. Rented or leased vehicles do not qualify for the rebate. These rebates are the second round that the IEPA is processing, which were authorized by the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). Rebates of $1,500 are also offered for buying an all-electric motorcycle.


Timely Tips for Going Green: Fall 2022

Are your Jack-O-Lanterns no longer looking gourd-geous? Don’t send them to the landfill! This spooky season, stop by the Village’s Pumpkin Smash event on Sunday, November 6, from noon-3pm at Northbrook Court's parking lot. Community members can toss pumpkins for composting, play games, meet some creepy crawlers, and learn about the benefits of organic waste recycling. Snacks will be provided.

sad jack o lantern

Are you uncertain about what is recyclable and where to recycle it? When done properly, recycling helps to conserve resources and protect the environment. 

At the October 19 “Recycle Right” webinar, representatives from Waste Management and the Village of Northbrook will provide information and answer your questions. Register now: https://visit.northbrook.info/event/6716457


Did you know that leaf blowers disrupt the local ecosystem and food chain for wildlife? When we blow leaves off our properties and bag them up for disposal, we are throwing away the source of shelter and overwintering habitat for important pollinators like dragonflies and bees. 
For best practices towards a more sustainable Northbrook, consider raking leaves into your garden beds this fall. The leaves will provide insulation and break down into nature’s best fertilizer for your plants.leaf blower

Timely Tips for Going Green: Summer 2022

Use the arrows to scroll through most recent social media posts pertaining to sustainability in Northbrook.

The Village has launched a voluntary Lights Out Northbrook campaign where community members commit to leaving their lights off after 11pm each night from now until November 15. Participants will receive a free native seed packet by registering with the Village Sustainability Coordinator.

This movement is part of a larger effort to protect the rare migratory birds that pass through Northbrook during fall, such as the ones pictured. Researchers believe that exterior lights on buildings confuse the navigation systems of birds leading them to circle buildings repeatedly and die of exhaustion or collision. 

Email tessa.murray@northbrook.il.us with your address to collect your free native seed packet. Call 847-664-4134 with any questions.

scarlet tanager

Have you heard that it uses more fuel to turn your engine off and on compared to letting the car idle for a short period of time? This myth has been debunked!

The US Department of Energy reports that idling for over seven seconds uses more fuel and produces more emissions that contribute to smog and climate change than stopping and restarting your engine does. So next time you’re waiting in a school pickup line or stopped in the drive-thru, please don’t idle! Poor air quality caused by tailpipe emissions can contribute to asthma in adults and especially children, whose lungs are more susceptible to damage.


West Cook Wild Ones is offering a free trade-in for Cook County residents that have invasive shrubs growing on their property! If you’re looking to replace invasive plants like Buckthorn or Barberry with a native shrub species, take photos for documentation, cut it down, and apply. Find more information and the online application here.


Interested in installing rooftop solar but don’t know where to start? The Village is partnering with the Library and Grow Solar Chicagoland to offer a virtual Solar Power Hour on Thursday, August 25, at 7pm. In this hour-long presentation you’ll learn the basics of solar, how it can save you money, and how the solar group-buy program works. At the end of the presentation, participants will be eligible to receive a free, no-obligation property assessment for a custom quote from competitively-selected solar installers. Register now!


Let’s get connected! Metra’s new $100 “Super Saver” monthly pass and $30 Regional Connect Pass are available for purchase starting today in the Ventra App and Metra ticket sales agents! Unlimited rides and connectivity services on all three systems for $130 a month (MetraChicago Transit Authority, and Pace Suburban Bus). Riding public transit in and around Northbrook just got easier. Learn more: https://metra.com/regional-connect-pass


Trying to conserve water this summer? These free water-saving kits from Nicor Gas offer products that can help, including low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators and a shower timer. For details or to order, visit http://nicorgas.com/.../free-products-and-services.html


Join us in celebrating National Pollinator Week! Pollinator species such as birds and insects are essential partners for food-growers, and pollination plays an important role in maintaining the health and biodiversity of our ecosystems. 
Sustainable practices such as planting natives, decreased pesticide usage, and leaving fallen leaves in garden beds are all examples of how we can support pollinators. Residents with pollinator-friendly yards can pick up a free garden sign from Village Hall by contacting the Village Sustainability Coordinator at 847 664 4134 or by email at tessa.murray@northbrook.il.us.

Pollinator Sig

Are you interested in electric vehicles? Starting today, Illinois residents can apply for a $4,000 rebate after purchasing an electric vehicle. Learn more about the program here: https://www2.illinois.gov/.../Electric-Vehicle-Rebates.aspx 


Greenest Region Compact

When Northbrook signed on to the Greenest Region Compact in September 2018, the Village agreed to achieve green goals in collaboration with other municipalities across the Chicagoland region. Through the Greenest Region Corps, Northbrook receives an Americorps volunteer to serve our community as a Sustainability Fellow. With the GRC agreement, the Village tracks progress in 10 key sustainability areas:

  1. Climate
  2. EnergyGRCLOGO
  3. Leadership
  4. Economic Development
  5. Municipal Operations
  6. Water
  7. Land
  8. Mobility
  9. Sustainable Communities
  10. Waste & Recycling

Sustainability Framework 

In 2013, the Village and Northbrook Park District partnered to create the Strategic Sustainability Plan, which outlines improvements and initiatives in energy, material management, natural resources, community development and transportation for a more sustainable future.