Post-Holiday Recycling!

We hope you had a wonderful holiday season! For information regarding Christmas tree recycling, how to safely recycle old Christmas lights, and wrapping paper recycling, see below!

Wrapping paper

Most gift wrap is recyclable, except plastic wraps or metallic papers. All cardboard and paperboard packaging is also recyclable. Please reuse ribbons and bows or discard in the trash.  If you do not have curbside recycling where you live, you may utilize the Town of Normal’s drop-off locations.

Christmas trees

Residents of Bloomington and Normal enrolled in those municipalities’ waste collection programs may dispose of their real (non-artificial) Christmas tree by placing it at the curb for collection on your regularly scheduled waste collection day. As these trees will be chipped into mulch, please be sure to remove all ornaments, tinsel, lights, etc. Please do not put your tree or any other waste in the street.

For residents outside of Bloomington or Normal, please check with your local municipality for tree collection options. If you do not have tree collection service at your home or in your municipality, Twin City Wood Recycling will accept your tree for chipping into mulch at their facility at 1606 W Oakland Avenue in Bloomington at a cost of $2 per tree. Call (309) 827-9663 for more information and operating hours.

Christmas lights & other e-waste

Illinois law bans most consumer electronics from landfills–they must be recycled instead. Residents can recycle strings of Christmas lights, cords, and related electronic items, regardless of condition, at one of the many locations listed below.

Did Santa bring you a new TV? Note that only two local sites now accept the older tube-style CRT TVs and monitors for recycling. See “Items Accepted” for each of the e-waste recycling collection points below.

Location: Best Buy, 2103 N Veterans Pkwy Suite 200, Bloomington, 309-663-8090
Items Accepted: Computers, computer accessories, monitors, televisions up to 32″ (flatscreens up to 60″), all types of radios, VCRs, cameras, etc. Damaged or non-working items accepted. Customers are limited to bringing in 3 units per day per household.
Items Not Accepted: appliances, microwaves, TVs that are consoles, rear-projections, or DLPs or larger than 32″, items with freon such as air conditioners, dehumidifiers, refrigerators. No business generated waste.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:00 am-9:00 pm, Sunday 11:00 am-8:00 pm

Location: Home Sweet Home Warehouse Operations, 1700 W Washington St., Bloomington, 309-828-1530
Items Accepted: Computers, laptops, printers, fax, scanners, copiers, peripherals, phone systems, all types of radios, VCRs,
Microwaves, toaster ovens, hair dryers, curling irons, cash registers, cameras, blenders, and other small appliances. Damaged or non-working items accepted. All types of cell phones, pagers, PDAs and their chargers, cables, and headset accessories
All of the small computer accessories such as MP3 players, iPods, digital cameras, hand- held scanners, handheld games and other connected devices. All forms of electronic media and their cases: diskettes, zip disks, CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVDs et al, game cartridges, DAT, DLT, and virtually all other type of computer tapes (ONLY at Mission Mart location)
Items Not Accepted: No CRT (tube-style) TVs or monitors, no VHS tapes or audio cassettes, no business-generated waste
Hours: Monday-Saturday 8:00 am-4:00 pm, 24 hour drop-off

Location: Habitat For Humanity ReStore, 1402 W Washington, Bloomington, 309-454-6047
Items Accepted: Computers, laptops, printers, fax, scanners, copiers, peripherals, phone systems, all types of radios, VCRs, Microwaves, toaster ovens, hair dryers, curling irons, cash registers, cameras, blenders, and other small appliances. Damaged or non-working items accepted. All forms of electronic media and their cases: diskettes, zip disks, CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVDs et al, game cartridges, DAT, DLT, and virtually all other type of computer tapes. All forms of printer cartridges including both inkjet and toner. All types of cell phones, pagers, PDAs and their chargers, cables, and headset accessories. All of the small computer accessories such as MP3 players, iPods, digital cameras, hand- held scanners, handheld games and other connected devices.
Items Not Accepted: No CRT (tube-style) TVs or monitors, no VHS tapes or audio cassettes, no business generated waste
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10:00 am-5:00 pm and Saturday from 9:00 am-4:00 pm

Location: Normal Public Works Garage, 1301 Warriner St., Normal, 309-454-9571
Items Accepted: Computers, laptops,televisions, monitors, printers, fax, scanners, copiers, peripherals, phone systems, all types of radios, VCRs, microwaves, toaster ovens, hair dryers, curling irons, cash registers, cameras, blenders, and other small appliances. Damaged or non-working items accepted.
All forms of electronic media: diskettes, zip disks, CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVDs et al, game cartridges, DAT, DLT, and virtually all other type of computer tapes. All forms of printer cartridges including both inkjet and toner. All types of cell phones, pagers, PDAs and their chargers, cables, and headset accessories. All of the small computer accessories such as MP3 players, iPods, digital cameras, hand- held scanners, handheld games and other connected devices.
Items Not Accepted: No VHS tapes or audio cassettes, no business generated waste
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:00 am-2:30 pm; the first Saturday of every month 8:00 am-12:00 pm
Summer hours 6:00 am-1:30 pm (Memorial Day through Labor Day)

For more information on recycling, hazardous waste disposal, and more, you can always consult other sections of this or call us at 309-454-3169.

Yard Smart Garden Walk

Yard Smart

The Ecology Action Center announces its thirteenth annual Yard Smart Garden Walk on Saturday, June 25, 2016. This free tour highlights beautiful and functional yards that protect our environment while benefiting wildlife and use few or no synthetic chemicals.  The event features a plant and garden tool “Freecycle” Exchange. Bring garden plants or tools to give away—everything must be free.

Participants should bring their own lawn chairs and reusable water bottles for the lunch and presentation. The lunch is a zero waste event. Participants are encouraged to carpool during the tour to conserve fossil fuels and reduce pollution.

The Yard Smart program promotes a more sustainable and healthier approach to lawn and garden maintenance. Working with nature to build a healthier ecosystem in both the soil below ground and the yard above ground will produce a more beautiful, sustainable and safer environment for everyone— children and adults, pets and wildlife—by reducing pollutants that runoff into our local water supplies. The program encourages local homeowners to reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, to conserve natural resources such as water and fossil fuels, and to make room for wildlife in their yards. Yard Smart Certification recognizes local homeowners who use ecologically sustainable practices in maintaining their yards and who realize that their lawn, garden and landscaping decisions affect the health of the whole community.

More information on the Yard Smart program as well as a set of free resource fact sheets is available at www.yardsmart.org.

EVENT REGISTRATION WILL OPEN IN MAY 2016

 

Illinois Sustainable Living & Wellness Expo

cropped-ISLWE-web-banner15.1The Ecology Action Center and the Illinois Wesleyan University Wellness Program believe in a future where we can inspire and assist residents of McLean County in creating, strengthening, and preserving a healthy environment and living healthy lifestyles. That is why we are pleased to announce this year’s theme for the Illinois Sustainable Living and Wellness Expo (ISLWE): Sustainable Science and Industry.

ISLWE is a public outreach event designed to create healthy communities by embracing services that promote health and wellness, advancing ideas for sustainability, and inspiring tomorrow’s scientists toward environmental responsibility. This year’s theme of sustainable science and industry unites two sectors of our community in order to provide the public with opportunities to explore topics relevant to their daily lives and the critical issues of our time, especially relating to environmental stewardship. Working together, we can provide higher-impact, higher-value experiences that encourage innovation and curiosity in our community.

Exhibitor and Sponsorship applications are now being accepted for this event, which will take place on Saturday, April 9th, 2016 at the Illinois Wesleyan University Shirk Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information can be found at our event website: www.islwe.org.

For further information, or to find out how you can participate, please contact Sara McCubbins at smccubbins@ecologyactioncenter.org.

Home, Lawn and Garden Day

HLGD Poster 2016 FINALTurn March into magic with educational classes, inspirational speakers, and horticulture treasures from a variety of exceptional businesses and artisans at the 14th annual Home, Lawn and Garden Day sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension McLean County Master Gardeners. This event will take place Saturday, March 5 at Central Catholic High School, Bloomington. Pre-registration is required.
Attendees select 4 workshops from 44 horticulture topics and attend the welcome and keynote sessions. Shane Cultra from Country Arbors Nursery, Urbana will open the day with “New and Exciting Plants for 2016.” Keynote speaker, Amanda Thomsen, author and blogger, will talk on “150 Ways to Create a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to You.” A $50 registration fee includes workshops, vendors and exhibitors, breakfast and lunch, door prizes, and silent auction. Register online at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw . Registration closes February 26. For more information about the program, contact the University of Illinois Extension- McLean County office at (309) 663-8306.

Meeting notes posted

The summaries of the first round of focus group meetings have been posted.  Please check them out; you can follow the discussions of the other focus groups in this way.  And please don’t forget your assignments.

Survey Results: Residents say area water quality good, see need to plan for future

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Joan Brehm, (309) 438-7177

yourwaterBLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Residents who live around the Lake Bloomington and Evergreen Lake watersheds are pleased with the quality of water, but remain less aware of the impact residential growth has on water sources, according to the Your Water, Your Future survey, released today.  Organized and implemented by McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District, Illinois State University, and the City of Bloomington, the survey was funded, in part, by the State of Illinois’ Office of the Governor and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.

The survey, completed by 550 households in Bloomington, north Normal, Towanda, Hudson, and Lake Bloomington, took place over the summer of 2015. Residents assessed the quality of water for different uses on a scale from 1 (poor) to 3 (good). With an overall mean of 2.53, activities ranged from the highest assessment for boating (2.64) to the lowest for swimming (2.28).
“The numbers show that people are pleased with the overall water quality and consider these watersheds a valuable resource worthy of protecting,” said Illinois State’s Professor of Sociology Joan Brehm, who oversaw implementation of the survey and gathering results. Brehm and her students have conducted similar social assessments of water quality in other areas of the state.
The survey could serve as the basis of planning for the future of water use in the area. Brehm pointed out a majority of residents surveyed see the need to develop an additional water source beyond Lake Bloomington and Evergreen Lake in the next 10 years. “Though respondents were split between favoring a new reservoir, or digging a well,” she said.

Before any long-term planning is considered, the Your Water, Your Future team will focus on outreach and education in terms of local water pollution. “When asked what they believed caused the most pollution to local water sources, those surveyed overwhelmingly said nitrogen and phosphorus—chemicals associated with agriculture,” said Brehm. While farmland runoff historically was a major source of pollution, Brehm noted changes in farming practices have reduced their impact, while growing urban development has increased the impact from residential homeowners. “A growing piece of the puzzle is the chemicals used in residential lawn care, but people are not always making the connection between their lawns and pollution.”

The groups involved in Your Water, Your Future will begin education efforts to encourage residents to employ “best practices” for lawn care. “That can include such things as using phosphorous-free fertilizers, rain barrels, or rain gardens,” said Brehm, who added though many people are aware of more sustainable lawn practices, not many in the survey use them. “Respondents were most familiar with rain barrels, which had a mean score of 2.46, yet only 10 percent of those taking the survey said they owned rain barrels. That is a disconnect we need to address.”
More than 58 percent of the households chosen for the random sample responded to the survey. “That is an unheard of number for a response, so that tells us this topic is important to the residents,” said Brehm, who noted most survey organizers hope for a 20 percent response.

Full report available at the link below.

Final Report: Your Water Your Future – A Residential Household Survey To Assess Our Water Future

 

Ecology Action Center Named Recipient of Chamber’s Annual Nonprofit Excellence Award

nonprofit excellence award

The Ecology Action Center was named the 2016 recipient of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce’s Nonprofit Excellence Award at the Chamber’s Annual Gala on Saturday, January 30.  This annual award honors an outstanding local nonprofit organization that demonstrates an ability to meet special community needs.

EAC volunteer Josh Barnett cited the EAC’s ongoing efforts to improve the quality of life of McLean County residents in his nomination to the Chamber.  He specifically referenced the EAC’s unique public/private partnership to address local needs for Household Hazardous Waste Collection in the absence of traditional state funding.  “Without these collections efforts and the work of the Ecology Action Center, thee toxics would continue to sit in homes, or, be dumped down the drain or in local streams. It is safe to say that no single non-profit event in McLean County during 2015 touched more local lives then the Household Hazardous Waste Collection,” said Barnett.

EAC Executive Director Michael Brown credits the broad base of EAC supporters for the organization’s successes.  “Without the hard work of our staff, volunteers, and board members, the financial support of our many members, donors, sponsors, grantors, and local government funders, and the participation of thousands of local residents, none of this would be possible.  The community embraced our efforts and everyone played a role to make the HHW effort a great success,” said Brown.

Illinois Sustainable Living & Wellness Expo accepting exhibitor applications

ISLWEExplore the many aspects of this year’s theme, Sustainable Science and Industry, at the upcoming Illinois Sustainable Living and Wellness Expo. Join us at this interactive event as we celebrate Sustainable Science and Industry and embrace the many services that promote health and healing.

The Exhibitors’ Fair
Illinois Wesleyan University, Shirk Center
Saturday, April 9 — 9:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m.

There will be up to 100 exhibitors set up in the Shirk Center sharing information about services & products, and providing education on Living Well and Living Green. The Exhibitors’ Fair is free to the public. The event will include live music, stage performances, children’s activities, cooking demonstrations and much more.

Being an Exhibitor
For information on being an exhibitor at this year’s Expo, please visit the event website at www.islwe.org. To apply for a booth space please complete the exhibitor’s application form online. Get your application in today to get the best price! Booth fees must be submitted at the time of application for application to be considered.

Zero Waste
In order to reduce the environmental footprint of this event, we will be repeating the successful zero waste strategies utilized for the past couple of years. This means that we will strive to generate no waste that cannot be recycled, reused, or composted. We are asking that exhibitors and presenters bring no materials for distribution or anything utilizing any packaging that are not 100% recyclable (meaning recyclable through local recycling programs) or 100% compostable.

At the 2012-2014 ISLWE events with approximately 4000 attendees we landfilled only about 20 pounds of waste. Please help us repeat this again this year. For more information on this, please contact Michael Brown at the Ecology Action Center.

Work Exchange, Sponsorships & Advertising
Nonprofits – to find out more about volunteering in exchange for booth fees, visit www.islwe.org. If you would like to further emphasize your business or organization while supporting the Expo, or to advertise in the ISLWE Program Guide that will be distributed to attendees at the Expo, again, visit our website.

Feel free to tell others about this event! For a complete listing of event details, visit www.islwe.org. Please keep checking back for updates.

Exhibitor applications are now online!

For additional assistance and questions please contact one the event coordinators:

Sara McCubbins, Expo Coordinator
309-454-3169×18

Michael Brown, Executive Director of The Ecology Action Center
309-454-3169

Jeremy Spencer, Director of Illinois Wesleyan University Wellness
309-556-3334

First Meeting of All Solid Waste Plan Focus Groups

All focus groups are meeting for the first time this week.  Topics for discussion for each group will include an overview of the planning process, the role of the focus groups, goals identified for this process, brainstorming of known issues and opportunities, criteria for evaluation of possible solutions, and initial brainstorming of solutions.  If you are unable to attend your focus group meeting this week, feel free to instead share your thoughts through the solid waste forum on the EAC website or by email to Michael.