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Sun-Powered Trash Compactors Among Features at the 2011 Green Fair

From diapers to concierge services, dozens of environmentally conscious businesses gather at Orland Civic Center Saturday to tout their earth-friendly wares and services.

As creatures of habit, it's always easier to do what we know. Even when those actions slowly erode the very environment we depend on. In an effort to raise awareness on sound environmental practices, the Southland will host Green Fair 2011 this Saturday, April 9, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Thirty-six vendors from the area will converge at the to promote products that encourage sustainability. The hope is that by bringing together an array of potentially money-saving and environmentally conscious businesses, a greener path will be easier for the homeowner to follow.

Green Fair 2011 is open to the public and admission is free.

Accessibility is key for Patricia Gira.

As chair of the village's Recreation, Parks and Environmental Initiatives committee, Gira is hoping those who attend the fair will come away with ideas that will not only promote the conservation of energy and natural resources, but also keep money in their wallets.

"We're hoping [homeowners] will learn to lower their carbon footprint," she said.

Unlike the first fair in 2010, Gira said, there will be no speakers at this year's event.

"People have so many demands on their time," she said. "We just want to let them wander about. There will be plenty of free information to those who seek it and we want to make the information available to those who want to do the right thing."  

Home Improvement

Waste Management (WM) will debut its solar-powered trash compactor. The company plans to donate four models to be used in high-traffic areas around Orland Park.

WM will also promote its "Think Green From Home" recycling kits. The kits provide homeowners with an environmentally friendly way to dispose of compact fluorescent lights, batteries, home electronics and other common household items that are damaging to the environment when disposed of improperly.

Gira says she's very excited about a commonly seen kitchen design element that, until now, could only be seen on home-improvement shows. Galassi Cut Stone and Marble will be debuting its recycled glass countertops.

Other home improvement vendors include Green Biolubes, Inc., Gutter Helmet of Illinois, LJ Neal and Sons, Smoothover Seal, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners and Protective Coatings and Water.

Health and Wellness

Allergy sufferers will be relieved to learn about My Green Mattress. The LaGrange company specializes in chemical-free mattresses and box springs.

"A lot of new bedding smells so bad that you have to leave the windows open for a few weeks," said store owner Tim Masters.

Masters said recent government regulations call for the increase of flame retardant chemicals in mattresses. The new standards, while they may help in a fire, wreak havoc on the body and compromise the respiratory system. His 100 percent wool mattress is naturally flame retardant and offers health-conscious individuals options when it comes to what they will lay on for about one third of their lives.

Masters' company supplies many local fire departments with mattresses and other bedding material.

"We're doing it [the Green Fair] to raise awareness," he said.

Fair-goers also will be able to learn about other health and wellness services provided by Arbonne, a purveyor of vegan-certified products, and Earth-Changing Diaper Service, an Orland Park-based company specializing in the management of baby waste.

Other vendors include Brannigan Chiropractic, the Foundation for Wellness Professionals and Wildtree natural foods.

All of the vendors appearing at Green Fair 2011 are listed on Orland Park's Smart Living website.

The Orland Park Civic Center is located at 14750 S. Ravinia Avenue. The fair is open to the public and admission is free.

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