CHICAGO, Ill. -- The Chicago Sustainable Backyards Program returns this Spring planting season to give residents information and incentives for more environmentally-friendly landscapes in their front, side and back yards.
The city is making rebates available to Chicago residents for up to 50 percent back from their next local purchase of:
- Trees - up to $100 back
- Native Plants - up to $60 back
- Compost Bins - up to $50 back
- Rain Barrels - up to $40 back
“All of these environmentally-friendly products are worth the investment, and the city wants to help by reducing the costs through this rebate program,” said Gabe Klein, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, which oversees the program. “Chicago residents have the ability to make a difference in cleaning the air, reducing flooding, providing habitat for native wildlife, and combating climate change through making their yards more sustainable.”
More than 50 local retail outlets will have rebate forms available, but residents are not limited to these stores if they find other stores that sell the items they want. In addition to garden centers, rebate forms will be available at aldermanic offices in limited quantities, and downloadable from the city’s website.
The Chicago Sustainable Backyard Program rebates are funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pollution Prevention Program and a U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant.
Rebate amounts were allocated based on the value of the “ecosystem services” provided by each product. Ecosystem services are the benefits from healthy ecosystems, including greenhouse gas reduction, stormwater management, improved air quality, and improved human health. For each tree that is planted, it is estimated that we receive services valued at $1,200 over the life of that tree.
Last year, the city paid residents $18,581 in rebates; residents spent $46,457 on rebated items that will provide the city more than $340,000 in ecosystem services over their lifetimes.
Already, the rebate program model has helped to increase availability of rain barrels and compost bins at stores across the city, including Home Depot, Costco and independent neighborhood stores.
Likewise, more retailers are now more aware of which plants are native to the Midwest, and thus eligible for a rebate, and are more likely to recommend them to customers. Native plants provide more ecosystem services than typical ornamental plants such as reducing flooding and providing biodiversity benefits.
SOURCE: City of Chicago