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 – SAVE THE DATE

Yard Smart

The Ecology Action Center announces its thirtennth annual Yard Smart Garden Walk on Saturday, June 27, 2015. 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.

MORE DETAILS AND EVENT REGISTRATION COMING THIS SPRING!

 

Illinois Sustainable Living and Wellness Expo

ISLWE10_color_smExplore the many aspects of Living Well & Living Green at the upcoming Illinois Sustainable Living and Wellness Expo with 100 exhibitors. This interactive event celebrates Creating Healthy Communities by blending ideas for green alternatives and embracing the many services that promote health and healing.

The ISLWE is McLean County’s major Zero Waste event. With the help of Midwest Fiber, who will accept all food waste for composting, this event is planned and managed to avoid any generation of waste that cannot be recycled, reused, or composted! In 2012, with approximately 4,000 attendees, only 20 pounds of waste was landfilled.

More details coming soon-watch the event website for more information – islwe.org

March Green Drinks: Local Food Movement in BloNo

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Green DrinksLooking for conversation or networking opportunities? You are invited to join the Ecology Action Center’s monthly Green Drinks on the first week of every month. This March, we are hosting Bill Davison and Chad Sanders on March 3 at 5:30 p.m.

Join Bill Davison and Chad Sanders and hear about local food projects here in town. Bill is the Small Farms and Local Food Systems Extension Educator for the University of Illinois Extension Office. Chad is the master Bread Baker for the Garlic Press Cafe in Uptown Normal. Bill and Chad will also share with us how local food relates to sustainability. Come out, have a drink and find out more!

 

 

Illinois First Detector Invasive Pest Workshop

University of Illinois Extension offers an invaluable program called “Illinois First Detector Invasive Pest Workshop” in an effort to educate the community on invasive threats to our Illinois landscape. Invasive threats like the Emerald Ash Borer have drastically reduced the number of Ash trees.

Farmers, Gardeners, Naturalists, Foresters and Educators will benefit from this all day workshop designed to increase awareness and teach identification of invasive species (plants, pathogens or insects) that threaten our landscape.

The 2015 workshops will cover new topics on current Forest Pest Workshop Flyer_Bloomington_2014_DIGITALand emerging invasive plants, pathogens, and insects. The workshops will include sessions covering viruses in ornamental plants, invasive plants and their management, the Brown Marmorated Stink bug, as well as a session devoted to discussing invasive pest pathways.

“Community involvement is key in the early detection of invasive species. We are very excited about these new workshop topics and look forward to working with participants in learning more about these issues facing our local communities,” said Kelly Estes, state survey coordinator.

As in previous years, these in-depth training sessions will cover material that includes:

• Identification/detection
• Life cycle/biology
• Hosts
• Sampling
• Management
• Commonly confused look-a-likes

Once again, those attending will also take part in hands-on activities, which will allow attendees to examine these pests and diseases in more detail.

For those interested in attending please register online or call 309-663-8306 and talk to Horticulture Educator, Kelly Allsup. A $40 non-refundable registration fee covers instruction, on-site lunch, and training materials. Space is limited.

EAC Employment Opening: Assistant Director (Energy/Water)

The Ecology Action Center is seeking a full-time Assistant Director (Energy/Water). This position is responsible for coordinating community outreach programs focused on energy efficiency and clean water protection.

The Assistant Director (Energy/Water) is a full-time salaried position with paid time off including annual vacation time, sick time, and holidays. Position is contingent upon program funding.

Major Responsibilities
1. Program development and implementation to increase energy efficiency and energy conservation in Bloomington-Normal (75%)
2. Clean water program coordination, volunteer and intern coordination, and assistance with financial operations (25%)

Specific duties
• Create educational and informational content for brochures, newsletters, websites, and social media
• Update community-wide energy clearinghouse database/website and clean water clearinghouse website
• Coordinate with partner organizations and businesses: MCCA, Springfield Electric, APEC, Lake Bloomington and Evergreen Watershed Oversight Committee
• Conduct home and small business energy checkups and make referrals to appropriate agencies, contractors, rebates, and similar resources
• Compile quarterly and annual program reports for Energy and Clean Water Programs
• Training and supervision of interns and/or volunteers
• Program evaluation
• Speak to community groups, conduct tours
• Develop educational displays
• Network with energy and clean water professionals
• Seek and apply for grants, sponsorships, and other alternative funding to expand existing funding
• Special event coordination
• Attend energy and watershed conferences and training workshops when appropriate and as funding available
• Recruit, screen, train, and supervise volunteer and internship positions to meet organizational needs
• Coordinate Clean Water program activities including presentations, rain barrel workshops, Yard Smart, etc.
• Assist with financial duties as needed including executing payroll in absence of Executive Director and grant reporting
• Help staff the office
• Other duties as assigned

Qualifications
• Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree. Preferred course of study in Energy, Environmental Health, Environmental Studies or other environmental sciences major.
• 2 years of experience in nontraditional education and/or community outreach with varied age groups and demographics
• Strong communication skills required, both written and verbal
• 2 years of experience in screening and supervision of volunteers
• Experience and high degree of comfort with web and computer technologies: spreadsheets, social media, WordPress, databases, QuickBooks, CRM, etc.
• Ability to work occasional long hours and irregular schedules to accommodate programmatic needs
• Ability to stand for 4 or more hours at a time
• Ability to lift up to 25 pounds
• Must provide own transportation, automobile insurance, and have a satisfactory driving record.

Equal Opportunity
The EAC is an equal opportunity employer for all qualified employees and applicants. All decisions regarding employment are made without regard for race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, or physical and/or mental disability unrelated to ability.

Ecology Action Center
The Ecology Action Center is a not-for-profit environmental agency with a mission to inspire and assist residents of McLean County in creating, strengthening and preserving a healthy environment. The EAC acts as a central resource for environmental education, information, outreach, and technical assistance in McLean County.

To Apply
Send a resume with a completed EAC Employment Application and cover letter to Executive Director Michael Brown at mbrown@ecologyactioncenter.org or Ecology Action Center, 202 W College Ave, Normal, IL  61761 by March 12, 2015.  Position is open until filled.

Lake Bloomington and Lake Evergreen Watershed Social Assessment

The Mclean County Soil and Water Conservation District, in collaboration with Illinois State University, has received funding from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IL-EPA) to conduct a watershed social assessment, with an emphasis on the Lake Bloomington and Lake Evergreen Watersheds. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has acknowledged that non-point source (NPS) pollution is the leading source of water quality degradation. One significant source of NPS pollution in urban and suburban areas is fertilizer and pesticide runoff from turf grass lawns, which has been associated with a variety of water quality concerns such as algal blooms and contaminated groundwater. Other practices such as the use of water-intensive and fertilizer-hungry non-native landscaping, removal of buffer strips around waterways, excessive use of impermeable pavements, and failing septic systems can increase pollutants that enter the groundwater and contribute to NPS pollution. Locally, Lakes Bloomington and Evergreen provide source water for over 80,000 residential customers and recreation opportunities for a growing population, yet this residential population has been largely absent from outreach or educational activities in relationship to the current watershed management plans and efforts to reduce NPS pollution. As the urban population continues to grow, NPS pollution from lawn care practices and increasing use of impermeable surfaces will only rise in concern. Securing safe and adequate water resources for the future is also going to demand greater attention and planning. In light of these concerns, the assessment has identified five primary goals:
1) Evaluate urban resident’s general level of knowledge and concerns of water quality and the effects of their activities on water quality and the practices they currently use that effect water quality (BMPs).
2) Evaluate onsite waste system knowledge and practice (ie: septic systems).
3) Evaluate knowledge of and opinions of water conservation activities on water quality and quantity.
4) Provide critical data to direct future outreach and education efforts.
5) Provide vital social data to inform an update of the current watershed management plans to more directly address social aspects of watershed management for the future.
To achieve these goals, a random sample of 1,000 residential households will be selected to complete a household survey during spring 2015. Households that are within the watershed or receive their source water from Lake Bloomington and Lake Evergreen will be the targeted population. This includes residential households in the Village of Hudson, the Village of Towanda, north Normal and the City of Bloomington. The survey will be administered in person during the last three weeks in May 2015 by Illinois State University students. An on-line version will also be available for anyone who was not selected at random but still wishes to participate. For more information about the project, please contact Dr. Joan Brehm, jmbrehm@ilstu.edu, tel: 309-438-7177.

Uptown 2.0 (Updating the Uptown Normal Plan)

Uptown Station 7 31 12 006Uptown planning consultant Farr Associates will give a presentation on the implementation of the 2000 Uptown Plan and discuss next steps in the continued renewal of Uptown and the surrounding area. A portion of the event will be set aside for small-group discussion.

Green Drinks February: StraightUp Solar

Looking for conversation or networking opportunities? You are invited to join the Ecology Action Center’s monthly Green Drinks on the first week of every month. This February, we are hosting Shannon Fulton from StraightUp Solar on February 3 at 5:30 p.m.

Shannon, Director of Illinois Business Development for StraightUp Solar and President of the Illinois Solar Energy Association, will present on the environmental and financial benefits of a solar photovoltaic (electric) system for your home or business. Learn about existing and emerging solar incentives that will reduce the cost of solar 50-60% in 2015.

Come out, have a drink and find out more! Green Drinks