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Stateville Correctional Center Sustainability 

Officer Paul Morgan planting the first cabbage plant

Stateville Correctional Center’s multifaceted Go-Green initiative is committed to conserve energy, reduce waste and to become a more self-sufficient facility by growing its own produce.  Stateville’s sustainability efforts include a variety of innovative options to fulfill this commitment. Currently the facility has begun to implement a traditional recycling program for recyclable items such as plastic bottles, wooden pallets, vegetable oil and a more complex program for recyclable items such as florescent light bulbs and motor oil.
All spent florescent light bulbs are collected to be recycled by an outside vendor.  Blue pallets get collected by the C.H.E.P company, and all other pallets can be collected by an approved vendor when delivering products to the facility.  All vegetable oil used in the dietary department is collected in tanks and is picked-up by approved vendors. All used motor oil is collected in a 300 gallon barrel and gets collected by a local company.  The collection of the used motor oil occurs once a month.  Whenever a vehicle battery gets replaced, the old battery is returned to the store it was bought from. 

The visiting rooms have designated recycle bins for plastic bottles.  Not only is Stateville committed to reduce waste but is becoming more self-sufficient by growing its own produce.  Currently, a variety of vegetables are harvested in the garden located near the old Minimum Security Unit (MSU) building, and some of the produce is served in the Employee Dining room.  Stateville utilizes a 2500 gallon steel container to collect rainwater to use in the garden.  Seeds are planted in the old MSU lawn; consequently the flowers are transferred to gardens throughout the facility.

Warden Hardy with some of the 2012 Stateville garden harvest.

Stateville's steam power plant produces all of the soft water for Stateville Proper, the Minimum Security Unit and the Northern Reception Center which is a costly process. During the water softener recharge, a brine solution is injected, then a “slow” rinse cycle begins for 20 minutes then the last step is a fast rise. The facility has modified the process to cut costs and be more sustainable; instead of letting the slow rise water go into the sewer, the facility runs it into a drum and pump it back into the brine (salt) tanks to be re – used. This slow rinse water contains about 40% salt which the facility now saves because it gets reprocessed. This saves the institution 40% in salt costs per year. This adds up to a reduction of about 97.5 tons of bulk salt and $14,000 yearly. This also keeps this amount of salt out of the State of Illinois’s water ways, helping the environment. This initiative has helped in many ways; there are savings associated with water, salt use, and reduced trucking. This procedure can be retro fitted to all of the state’s institutions with large water softeners.

The need does not stop here. While there is still more to be done, Stateville is taking small steps toward implementing a recycling program for whole/shredded sheets of paper and cardboard from general deliveries in the near future.