As Chicago residents begin to resume outdoor activities, they can expect to breathe a little easier. That’s because the Chicago Park District (CPD) is working to improve air quality by fueling park refuse haulers with 100 percent biodiesel (B100).
It’s all part of a pilot program in partnership with the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff program and the American Lung Association (ALA), aimed at reduced vehicle carbon emissions and more sustainable operations. As the B100 pilot program enters its second year, CPD is celebrating improved air quality and emission reductions equivalent to planting 419 trees in Chicago parks annually.
The refuse vehicles collect trash on Chicago’s lakefront and in nearby city parks, areas where many people go to enjoy fresh air. Refuse haulers typically travel at low speeds and require frequent stops, creating potential for increased soot and emissions.
“Through this B100 project, we are seeing unprecedented reductions in carbon emissions, supporting a healthier and more sustainable environment for the people of Chicago,” says Mike Dimitroff with the Chicago Park District Department of Natural Resources.
“You would be hard pressed to find a more sustainable option for our refuse trucks than B100 biodiesel,” Dimitroff says. “Our B100 is made from recycled cooking oil, which comes from soybeans grown by Midwestern farmers. Since the fuel is produced in-state we are really closing the loop on local renewable energy and boosting the local economy.”