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Park District partners with Illinois farmers to produce hand sanitizer

Illinois soybean farmers support the effort with raw materials, packaging

The Chicago Park District is partnering with the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff program to produce hand sanitizer to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among the District’s workforce and city first responders. The hand sanitizer will be used by Park District staff and other professionals who continue to perform essential functions during the State of Illinois’ stay at home order.

“The safety of our employees is paramount,” said CPD General Superintendent Michael Kelly. “Due to the sweeping spread of the novel coronavirus, there is a global shortage of vital sanitation products. This unprecedented time calls for innovative solutions. Rather than wait indefinitely for products to become available, risking the safety of our workforce and the public, we decided to produce it ourselves.”

The Chicago Park District is currently producing 600 gallons of alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Production of the hand sanitizer follows World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for antiseptic hand rub containing isopropyl alcohol, glycerin, hydrogen peroxide, and purified water. Glycerin is the main by-product derived from the production of biodiesel and is made from soybeans grown in Illinois.

ISA is contributing to the effort by helping secure raw materials and packaging needed for production.

“Illinois soybean producers are proud to partner with the Chicago Park District to alleviate stress on needed resources like sanitizer during this pandemic,” says ISA Chief Executive Officer John Lumpe. “We’re neighbors helping neighbors because, at the end of the day, we’re all in this together.”

The Chicago Park District began hand sanitizer productions last week and has already started distribution among its workers. Park staff will carry smaller 6-ounce bottles of sanitizer on hand, larger 32-ounce bottles will be placed at fixed positions and in CPD vehicles. Gallon-sized bottles will be used to refill smaller containers.

The Chicago Park District also uses biodiesel made from recycled soybean oil to fuel equipment such as lawnmowers, beachcombers and refuse haulers. Darling Ingredients donates used cooking oil to the CPD program. In fact, the District is a member of the B20 Club, a partnership between ISA and the American Lung Association that recognizes Illinois-based fleets committed to operating with biodiesel blends of 20 percent or higher.

Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean growers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean innovation and profitability efforts, issues analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C., through the Illinois Soybean Growers. ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality, most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the marketplace. For more information, visit the website

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