Has plenty on his plate — even food scraps
Bryan Tillman of Chicago was recently hired as Highland Park's director of sustainability. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
BEST KNOWN AS: Sustainability director, City of Highland Park
WORDS TO LIVE BY: “I have found that living a more sustainabale lifestyle has made a tremendous positive impact on my life and I hope to share this with others.”
Updated: December 18, 2012 3:14PM
HIGHLAND PARK — Bryan Tillman doesn’t actually work for the City of Highland Park, but he was hired in November to serve as the city’s new sustainability director. It was a signal the city is putting waste reduction, clean air and energy independence front and center on the local agenda. Tillman works for Kymanox, a firm founded in Highland Park that is now based in Gurnee.
Q. Why do you think more suburbs are deciding to devote someone’s full attention to sustainability issues?
A. Proper implementation brings economic benefits and also leads to healthier, more vibrant communities. Sustainability managers or directors almost always produce a financial savings for the cities or businesses that hire them. There is also a growing demand from residents to focus on sustainability because of the positive impact on health and quality of life.
Q. What projects have your attention right now?
A. There are three projects that currently have my attention. The first is to increase the adoption rates of electric vehicles in Highland Park. The second is increasing recycling rates to divert waste from our landfills while reducing our consumption of virgin materials. I will also be assisting the schools in Highland Park as they move towards the goal of producing zero waste, which will have both environmental and educational attributes.
Q. Highland Park piloted food-scrap composting this year in one area of the city, which kept some waste out of the landfill and redirecting it to a composting facility in Waukegan. Are there plans to continue or expand the composting program?
A. Starting in January, this program will be available citywide. Residents will have access to curbside food-scrap pickup for the months of January through March. Starting in April and running through the end of November, the food-scrap composting program will align with the yard waste program, so that participants can simply include food-scraps with their yard waste.
Q. Why did you choose this line of work?
A. My wife and I have an eight-month-old daughter (who is cute as a button I might add). I am passionate about ensuring that my daughter will live in a world that is healthy so that she can enjoy life and be prosperous. In addition to trying to preserve more for future generations, I have found that living a more sustainable lifestyle has made a tremendous positive impact on my life and I hope to share this with others.