As green living becomes a nationwide trend, Glenview residents, businesses and organizations are taking notice, making an effort to live in more sustainable and environmentally-friendly ways. Whether this means making an effort to recycle, adopting green business practices or offering local organic food, residents and business owners alike are striving to make a difference.
As a part of the Go Green! Glenview initiative, the village recently began a green business award program. It was started for two reasons, said Peter D'Agostino, management analyst for the village.
The first goal is "to inspire Glenview businesses to incorporate environmentally responsible practices into their daily business environments, either by the types of products or services they provide or by the manner in which they go about it," said D'Agostino. The second goal is to publicly recognize businesses that make these changes successfully.
Applications for the award are accepted on an on-going basis and will be reviewed twice a year. The village will honor the businesses at board meetings twice annually as "Go Green Gold Award Winners."
Kathleen Miles, president of the Glenview Chamber of Commerce, said many Glenview businesses are beginning with the basics to build a foundation of green business practices. Many businesses, she said, are going paperless and conserving energy by turning off lights and electronic devices. Others offer green solutions for home and business.
Intrinsic Landscaping is one such business. Started by Lou Horvath in Glenview in the late 1960s, Instrinsic Landscaping began as a high-end garden design and maintenance company. Horvath's son Kurt took over the business in 1986 and continued its reputation as a creative landscaper. Years later, a manufacturer of green roofing supplies approached the younger Horvath with an offer for Intrinsic to get involved with a roofing project. "I did some research and realized all of the benefits and thought to myself that if people start to care about the environment this could make a difference," he said.
Intrinsic has since made a name for itself in the green roofing industry. "We are in the neighborhood of 2 million square feet installed and have worked on projects across the country and done some consulting internationally as well," Horvath said.
And just what are the benefits of green roofing? They are many, said Horvath. Green roofs last up to three times longer, help with storm water management, and save energy in the hot summer months. Horvath said the company currently is working to develop a new material to save money and energy on winter heating.
Not only has Intrinsic Landscaping been located in Glenview for decades, but it also has completed three projects in the community. The Evelyn Pease Tyner Center, the new Glenview Public Library and the United Methodist Church's Board of Pensions building all reflect the company's handiwork.
Horvath said his favorite part about playing a role in green business is changing the future for his children. "I have four kids and I feel that although we are a small business, I know that I do something good for the earth each day," he said.
Recycling is another important aspect of green living for Glenview businesses and residents. The Glenview Chamber of Commerce features a list of places throughout the community where residents can recycle all kinds of goods, from clothing to furniture to car parts.
Northfield Township started a special recycling program that accepts many items, including art supplies, batteries, toys and bicycles in usable condition, electronics and engine oil. Drop-off dates are Sept. 25 and Oct. 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Northfield Township Road District Garage, 1928 Lehigh Ave.
Miles said other businesses in Glenview offer drop-off services. "C&M Auto collects the typical items relating to cars -- oil, batteries, gas, antifreeze, tires," she said, "along with Dominick's and Jewel collecting plastic bags." These collection points allow the community to dispose of these items in a manner that is not only good for the environment, but also safe for the community.
Recycling can also help the community in other ways. The Women's Association resale shop at Glenview Community Church accepts donations of top quality used clothing for men, women and children as well as gently used housewares, toys, jewelry and accessories, said Addy Ford, a representative of the association.
"These services are important because not everyone is in a financial position to buy brand-new items at retail prices, especially in these economic times," Ford said. "These things work to better the community as not only are quality goods being recycled but funds from the resale shop allow the GCC Women's Association to annually provide grants to numerous social service agencies and a variety of scholarships."
Organic and Local Eating
In addition to recognition of green-focused businesses and heightened recycling efforts throughout the community, businesses and organizations are working to provide residents with sustainable and environmentally-friendly food options.
The Organic Pantry Project (TOPP), which was incorporated in March, works to support and create community gardens. The first garden supported by TOPP in Glenview was at Pleasant Ridge school. For years, students had been gardening at the school under the guidance of teacher Dave Jones, who used his own money to buy supplies. Last year, students donated more than 350 pounds of organic produce to local food pantries.
Jen Roberts and Laura Heyser, founders of TOPP, said they wanted to do more to help Jones and his students.
"We wanted to create something to raise funds for him to support and continue the garden," Heyser said. "We wanted to make sure we're supporting our community in a way to teach our kids something healthy and to get involved in something that matters."
TOPP also helped plant a garden at Glenview Community Church. With the help of the congregation, an Eagle Scout project and donations from grocer Whole Foods and others, the church's garden came together in about a month, Heyser said.
Since June, TOPP has donated more than 324 pounds of organic produce to the Northfield Township Food Pantry to help those in need.
Organic food is important to the owners of Sweet Dreams Organic Bakery and Cafe, 1107 Waukegan Rd. The eatery features recipes passed through generations of owner Mary Sopcic's family. Kellie Germond, a friend of the family, helped create the menu and now works to continue offering organic and vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
"We need to eat food produced without fungicides, pesticides, and chemical additives to be healthier," she said, "And it's healthier for the people producing those foods too."
Germond said Sweet Dreams not only uses food from local farmers, but also has connections with small organic farmers in Bolivia. She has made trips there to help farmers set up sustainable, organic farming processes. "Organic is not only healthier to eat, but a means to sustainability for farmers, water and the land itself," she said.
The Glenview Farmers Market also provides a way for residents to go green by offering local and organic foods for purchase in addition to flowers and locally made crafts. The market is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon through Oct. 9 in the parking lot across from Wagner Farm, 1510 Wagner Rd.