Prepare for Plastic Free July

Here are 18 things you can do to reduce plastic waste this Plastic Free July:

  1. Bring your own shopping bag. If necessary, use paper bags.
  2. Purchase secondhand.
  3. Buy loose & in bulk. Buy items you purchase often in bulk with little to no packaging. Look for sustainable packaging options like glass or cardboard.
  4. Use cloth diapers. 7.6 billion pounds of diapers are discarded in the U.S. each year.
  5. Stop buying bottled water.
  6. Ditch straws. If needed, use paper or metal alternatives.
  7. Make your own cleaning products. Use nontoxic ingredients to improve indoor air quality and eliminate the need for multiple plastic bottle cleaners.
  8. Skip products with microbeads. These beads pass through water treatment plants and cause harm to animals.
  9. Use reusable containers. Skip plastic baggies or wrap. Use green, durable alternatives such as glass jars, cloth produce bags, or beeswax wrap.
  10. Recycle!
  11. Cook like a natural. If you cook with less processed food, you’ll reduce packaging waste.
  12. Shave smart. Eliminate plastic disposal razors. Use razors with replaceable blades.
  13. Keep a zero-waste kit. When planning a day out, pack your travel mug, metal container, jar for leftovers, napkin, and real utensils.
  14. Use natural sponges. Use cotton rags or cellulose sponges like loofah, hemp, or bamboo.
  15. Skip K-cups! Grind your own coffee or have it ground at the store.
  16. Shop at a farmer’s market. Buy fresh, local, unpackaged produce!
  17. Don’t trash it! Compost it. Composting reduces plastic garbage bags and lowers CO2 emissions. Composting helps grow unpackaged food.
  18. Refuse stuff. Tell your server you don’t want a straw or you brought your own cutlery or takeout container.

Spread the word about these Plastic Free July tips using the image or pdf below!

School District 161 Community Clean Up 2022

Flossmoor School District 161 held a community clean up event at Flossmoor Hills Elementary School on April 9, 2022. Volunteers collected litter from the school grounds. Thanks to all who participated in the Clean Up event, Homewood Disposal for presenting to fourth and fifth grade students this month, and students and staff who have been problem solving and discussing recycling correctly.

Park Forest Community Clean Up 2022

The Sustainability office completed a very successful first Annual Community Clean Up this past Saturday picking up litter the entire length of Tamarack street.  There were 28 volunteers including Mayor Vanderbilt and his 3 children, 3 Environment Commissioners, many hard working NHS students, and a resident from Homewood in the mix.  The rain held out, and they braved the cold, wet elements to collect 51 bags of trash, 1 bag of recycling, a TV, 2 tires, a broken chair and a mattress/box spring set.  This event wouldn’t have been a success without the Parks department for all the supplies and Public Works for picking up the waste collected. Many thanks to all involved.

This event was in collaboration with the Chicago Southland Green Committee made up of the many agencies in Homewood, Flossmoor, Olympia Fields and Park Forest including libraries, school districts, villages and parks departments.  There was companion Clean Up events happening on Saturday in the other communities as well as throughout this month.

Community Clean Up 2022

The Chicago Southland Green Committee organizes a Community Clean Up event each year in April to celebrate Earth Month. Everyone is encouraged to come out and clean up streets, yards, parks, common areas, and other locations in their communities.

Our next Community Clean Up is Saturday, April 2nd, 2022. Flossmoor School District 161 will host their Community Clean Up event on Saturday, April 9, 2022.


Sign up for the Village of Flossmoor’s Community Clean Up: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4eaeab2eabffc43-flossmoor

9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Flossmoor Village Hall parking lot
2800 Flossmoor Road
Flossmoor, IL

We will be tackling the litter along Flossmoor Road. Dress accordingly and meet us at the Village of Flossmoor Village Hall parking lot to get instructions and receive your assignment. Please sign up online. Thank you!


Sign up for the Village of Park Forest’s Community Clean Up: https://villageofparkforest.com/913/Community-Clean-Up

9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Hidden Meadows Driving Range
23521 Crawford Avenue
Flossmoor, IL 

Please dress for the weather and bring gloves, if you have them. Be sure to sign up online.

Thank you for keeping the community beautiful!


Chicago Southland Annual Community Clean Up is sponsored by the Chicago Southland Green Committee: Flossmoor Public Library, Flossmoor School District 161, H-F High School, H-F Park District, Homewood Public Library, Homewood School District 153, Homewood Disposal, Village of Flossmoor, Village of Homewood, Village of Park Forest, and Village of Olympia Fields. Contact your local organization or visit them on the web for more information.