SCARCE has been involved with the passage of numerous laws that aim to protect the people and the planet. Our goal at SCARCE is to keep harmful chemicals out of the environment and promote and enable environmentally-friendly practices leading to a healthy and sustainable future for all.
Our mission is to create a brighter future for people and the planet.
And we do this by being a…
Our educational programming focuses on simple, practical ways to adopt greener practices into residential and commercial areas.
We recognize opportunities for change, fighting against environmental hazards and issues in order to move forward.
We work closely with local schools, businesses, and elected officials to bring better, greener solutions to our communities.
Since 2004, we’ve helped pass 12 eco-friendly laws, helping to make Illinois a better, cleaner place to work and live.
Our Most Recent Bill
In February 2020, State Rep. Terra Costa Howard (D-Glen Ellyn) filed House Bill 4329, prohibiting the sale or manufacturing of any garden hose that is not lead-free. The goal of this bill is to reduce exposure to carcinogenic lead in water used to water gardens, fill pools, and hydrate people and pets. Our legislation includes:
Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, HB 4329 – 2019-2020
Currently on hold until the next legislative session, however, we do have bipartisan support.
The bill “prohibits the sale or manufacture for sale in this State of garden hoses that are not lead free.”
SCARCE proposed this bill to local legislators.
Compost-Amended Soil Construction Act, HB 4790 – 2018
This law mandates all state agencies to request a bid to include food scrap amended compost for all contracted landscaping projects bringing in off-site soil and requires the agency to select that bid if it is equivalent to or less than bids using soil alone.
With the uptake of food scrap compost collections on individual and even municipal level scale, we have an abundance of this nutrient-rich, organic, and chemical-free soil amendment that is not yet widely used. This new bill aims to “close the loop” for composting by giving it an outlet to be used in large-scale landscaping projects. In addition, many of these projects will be visible by other potential purchasers of food scrap amended compost to see the landscaping success with this soil amendment.
SCARCE worked with IFSC and State Rep Carol Sente to pass this law.
Food Donation Act, Public Act 099-552 – 2016
This law prohibits any state run facility – including schools, prisons, offices, etc – to enter into food service contracts that prohibits donating left over foods to agencies like food banks, homeless shelters, and soup kitchens.
1 in 8 Illinois residents and 1 in 6 children struggle with hunger on a daily basis. Food waste also accounts for 30-40% of food produced. The benefits of this law are two fold; (1) keeping food out of landfills and (2) feeding hungry people. Organic waste generates large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 4 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Curbing the amount of food that is wasted and ends up in landfills also helps to curb the rapid release of greenhouse gasses, therefor slowing the impacts of climate change. Not only does this law now make it legal to donate food to homeless shelters, it legally allows schools to set up lunchroom sharing tables. Students can place unopen an uneaten food on a table in the lunchroom where other students can then select those food items if they don’t have a lunch or are still hungry.
SCARCE worked with the Illinois Environmental Council to pass this law.
Pollution Control Facility (compost transfer stations), SB1518 – 2015
This law enables food scrap compost to be included in accepted wastes at landscape waste transfer facilities.
Previously, food scrap waste was not allowed at landscape composting or transfer stations making it nearly impossible to get food waste composted.
SCARCE helped pass this bill with IEC and IFSC.
EPA Compost Drop Off, HB0437 – 2015
This law allows municipalities to approve permanent and temporary compost collection sites for residents to drop off designated types of compostable wastes.
This law was instrumental in kicking off one of our biggest collection events, the Annual Pumpkin Smash, where groups organize one-day pumpkin collection events after Halloween. Pumpkins in particular, are a great way to get people introduced to the concept of composting. They are 90% water and the most pumpkins are grown in Illinois over other states, and people have an abundance of them after Halloween. Towns and groups make it a fun event where people can smash, bowl, or catapult their pumpkins
SCARCE worked with the Illinois environmental Council to draft and pass this law.
This ensures that the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity shall work with consumer groups and trade associations to develop nationally recognized symbols for compostable and biodegradable materials.
This law will enable a public awareness and education campaign that will help them make more informed decisions and choose to purchase materials and packaging that is recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable.
SCARCE was heavily involved with passing this bill with the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition.
This law allows non-profit and governmental organizations to host cooking oil collections without undergoing the same licensing, fees, and reporting as private collection locations.
This law enables drop offs from the public who use cooking oil in small quantities. Many people either dump these oils down their sink or storm Dumping cooking oils down storm drains and any sewage outlet contributes to damaging and costly clogs in public infrastructure that cities must fix. In order to eliminate these clogs, this law attempts to stop the problem at the source and give consumers the proper, free outlet for cooking oil recycling. Not only does this cause major problems for public infrastructure, these oils cause similar environmental damage as petroleum-based oils and are regulated under the same EPA laws. Detrimental affects include harm to plants and wildlife by binding to their surfaces and fouling coastlines with smells and oils that linger in the environment for years to come.
This law prohibits the disposal of any pharmaceutical product by medical professionals into any public wastewater system and imposes a hefty fee on violators. It also allows secure public collection receptacles for unwanted and expired medications, both controlled and uncontrolled substances, at police departments, city halls, and any facility under municipal control to open collections to the public.
Previously, pharmaceutical disposal protocol was to flush expired and unused medications down the toilet to be treated by municipal wastewater facilities. We do not have the technology or infrastructure to treat these compounds out of water, leading to the release of many pharmaceutical compounds dissolved in water – including hormones, stimulants, antidepressants, and more. People and wildlife are exposed to low levels of these compounds, resulting in known defects in fish, frogs, and dosing in drinking water.
SCARCE worked with State Rep Patti Bellock to research, draft, and pass this law.
EPA Composting Facilities, SB99 – 2009
This law allows composting facilities collecting food scraps to be sited in Illinois, when previously it was prohibited. It provides the rules for siting, but exempts it from many of the same regulations that landfills are subjected to.
Previously, food scrap compositing facilities were not allowed in Illinois, in 2009, this bill passed and allowed commercial composting and exempted them from expensive and highly regulatory permitting processes
SCARCE worked with the then State Representative Sandy Pihos, Senator Pam Althoff, and Senator Heather Stearns, and The Illinois Environmental Council at every step of the way to pass this bill.
Smoke Free Illinois Act, 410 ILCS 82/ – 2008
This law bans all tobacco smoking within 15 feet of doors to public places and places of employment. This includes the removal of ashtrays in any prohibited spaces and posting visible signs with the universal no smoking symbol.
Cigarette smoke is a known carcinogen, asthma trigger, and cause of numerous health problems in adults and children alike. The US Surgeon General determined that there is no safe level of secondhand exposure to cigarette smoke and has been designated as the third leading cause of preventable death in the US. Cigarette butts also prove to be a source of hazardous contamination to our water resources. They are frequently littered and washed away during a precipitation event, then leaching carcinogens, nicotine, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals into drinking water sources that are not removed during drinking water treatment.
SCARCE initiated this ban in Wheaton, IL where we pushed for a smoking ban within 25 feet of doorways. This law was then brought to the IL General Assembly where they passed the law at 15 feet. The LEED standard for certification is 25 feet.
Green Cleaning Schools Act, 105 ILCS 140/ – 2007
This law requires all public schools and private schools with over 50 students to implement a green cleaning policy stipulating the use of all environmentally-sensitive products.
Children, faculty, and maintenance staff are subject to routine exposure to indoor air pollutants including hazardous and harmful chemicals from cleaning products, deodorizers, waxes, and other maintenance products. Many of these products are known carcinogens and can directly impact a child or adult’s performance when exposed for long periods of time. These chemicals are also environmentally damaging often entering our soils and water sources where it harms local flora and fauna nor can be treated out of our drinking water, therefore exposing humans to low levels of these chemicals in numerous pathways including drinking water.
SCARCE was involved with the drafting and passage of this law… Clorox wipes are legally banned from schools yet many teachers still require students to bring a container as part of their school supply list at the beginning of the year.
Excessive Idling, Public Act 094-0845 – 2006
This law limits the amount of time any diesel vehicle may idle to 10 minutes within a 60 minute period and applies excessive fees to people violating this law.
Diesel vehicle idling contributes to unnecessary carbon emissions, wasted fuel, and vehicle exhaust which is known to be a driver of climate change and releases particulate matter that causes respiratory problems in people. Children are directly exposed to diesel fuel exhaust at high levels before and after school during bus loading and unloading. Kids are especially vulnerable to the particulate matter because their bodies are still developing and inhale more air per pound of body weight than adults, and because of their low height are more directly in the air space of the exhaust pipe from vehicles.
SCARCE worked with State Rep Sandy Pihos to draft and pass bill after when seeing how long busses idle at schools, directly exposing children to this harmful exhaust. After passing this law, SCARCE received funding to make No Idling signs and gave them to every school in DuPage County.
Mercury Fever Thermometer Prohibition Act, Public Act 93-0165 – 2004
This law bans the retail sale and distribution of mercury fever thermometers and mercury-added toys in Illinois.
Mercury is a well-known neurotoxin and harmful environmental contaminant. Children and adults were prone to regular exposure through mercury thermometers, which can be readily broken and shattered, proving harmful and costly to clean up. Many children’s toys, often being manufactured in China, are laden with mercury, providing a direct exposure path to children, who are most vulnerable to developmental issues with mercury exposure. Without this law, both humans and our environment would continuously subjected to mercury exposure. An amount as small as one gram (the amount in a typical thermometer) is enough to contaminate all fish in 20 acre lake. Mercury bioaccumulates, or concentrates at the top of the food web, in fish that many people then consume. Banning mercury thermometers and toys works to reduce the harmful impact on humans and the environment in myriad ways – reduction in environmental contamination, reduction in bioaccumulation, and reduction in direct exposure.
SCARCE initiated this bill with Governor-elect Blagovoiech’s transition team and this was the first bill he passed as the new Governor of Illinois.
No matter what we achieve, SCARCE is always looking for more ways to leave the planet better than we found it, in hopes of creating a cleaner world for future generations. Support our mission by getting involved as a volunteer or donor today!