Cook County Announces $10 Million Pollution Reduction Program

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced $10 million in funding today for the Businesses Reducing Impact on the Environment (BRITE) program, an initiative led by the County’s Department of Environment and Sustainability (DES). This program is available to dry cleaners, auto body and repair shops, metal finishers as well as food and beverage manufacturers in suburban Cook County and helps reduce their environmental impact through pollution reduction.

The County has allocated approximately $4 million for free on-site assessments to identify ways businesses can reduce pollution and create a healthier environment for employees, customers and the community. Assessments specifically look for opportunities to reduce energy and water usage, increase waste diversion from landfills, reduce use of toxic chemicals in operations and help determine if the location is suitable for on-site renewable energy.

Approximately $6 million in subsequent grant funding will be made available for businesses to complete recommended enhancements identified during the assessment, including equipment installation, construction and training.

“While pollution affects us all, historically disinvested communities bear the brunt of health issues that arise from living in areas with higher pollution,” said President Preckwinkle. “Mitigating the negative effects pollution creates in our communities is essential. I am proud to offer a program that assists businesses in reducing pollution, which will help make Cook County a better place for everyone.”

Businesses interested in the free assessment can fill out an interest form in English, Spanish or Korean. Additionally, any eligible businesses that have had a similar environmental assessment conducted by a DES partner or other third party since 2018 may apply directly for the grant.

“Paying for environmental consulting and new equipment can be a financial burden to small business owners,” said Deborah Stone, chief sustainability officer and director of the County’s Department of Environment and Sustainability. “The BRITE program is designed to help business owners understand where they can reduce pollution from their operations and how much it costs to implement recommendations. The County is proud to offer subsequent grant funding to help with the cost of implementing these enhancements.”

Cook County is providing funding for the BRITE program through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The County allocated over $100 million in ARPA funding to support a clean environment for all and to fight climate change.

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