Illinois Farm Bureau and Rivian Automotive sign on to support the HHW Fund

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release
May 23, 2017

Contact: Michael Brown
Phone:     (309) 454-3169

Early Support from New Major Partners: Rivian Automotive and Illinois Farm Bureau® Join McLean County Household Hazardous Waste Effort

Illinois Farm Bureau® (IFB) and Rivian Automotive have pledged their support for the tentative fall 2017 McLean County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection event.  The Ecology Action Center recently launched its fundraising campaign for this public-private effort and IFB and Rivian both quickly joined the cause.  The Farm Bureau is acting as a major financial sponsor and Rivian will provide its grounds for the collection.

“Rivian is excited to be part of the community and to support this important service,” said RJ Scaringe, Founder and CEO of the company. “We are happy to share our facility and maintain the tradition of HHW collection events held here at the plant.”  Rivian recently purchased the former Mitsubishi Motors North America plant where it will house the manufacturing operations of their forward-thinking automotive company.

”We realize that local residents – who want to do the right thing – have few options to safely dispose of household hazardous waste. Doing so is expensive,” said IFB president Rich Guebert, Jr. “Partnering with Ecology Action Center and others gives us a chance to support, in a very meaningful way, the community that IFB has called home for more than 50 years,”

The Ecology Action Center held household hazardous waste collection events at what was then Mitsubishi Motors North America in 2015 and 2013, after outgrowing the Interstate Center at the first locally funded event there in 2012.  As the solid waste agency for McLean County, Bloomington, and Normal, the EAC is responsible for coordinating Household Hazardous Waste Collection for the community.  However, the traditional funding for these events through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) has become very irregular and infrequent. 

After annual HHW collections funded by the IEPA from 2003 to 2007, the state reduced funding for the program and McLean County did not receive a HHW event for five years.  As a result, the EAC, with support from McLean County, the City of Bloomington, and the Town of Normal created the McLean County HHW Fund as a public-private partnership.  In 2012 the Ecology Action Center raised over $160,000 in contributions and in-kind services to hold the first-ever locally funded HHW collection in central Illinois.  This effort resulted in the largest HHW event to-date for McLean County as thousands of households sought to dispose of a backlog of hazardous waste.

This unique and wildly successful funding strategy drew recognition ranging from an Honorable Mention among the 2013 Governor’s Sustainability Awards to the McLean County Chamber of Commerce Green Excellence Award and recognition from the Illinois Recycling Association.

The fall 2017 collection will be the third locally funded event; under an agreement between the EAC, McLean County, the City of Bloomington, and the Town of Normal, the public entities provide about 80% of the funding needed to put on a one-day HHW collection for McLean County residents.  The EAC is responsible for raising the rest of the necessary funds through private contributions and commercial sponsorships.  The EAC has set a fund raising goal for the 2017 HHW Fund of $35,000 to allow for a growing awareness of the need for proper hazardous waste disposal and relative possible increase in attendance at the fall HHW collection.

Improper disposal of household hazardous wastes pollutes our local water supplies and environment.  Whether it is thrown out with regular trash going to a municipal waste landfill, dumped illegally down the drain, storm sewer, or in a ditch, these actions compromise the safety of drinking water thereby threatening the health and well-being of area residents.

More information on hazardous waste disposal and nonhazardous waste disposal are available at HHWmclean.org or by calling 369-454-3169.  Free resources include a notification email list for HHW updates, instructions on disposal of nonhazardous latex paint, suggestions on alternative (non-hazardous) products, and information on the EAC’s Yard Smart program, promoting sustainable landscaping and gardening with less synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

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.

The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a national organization of farmers and ranchers. Founded in 1916, IFB is a non-profit, membership organization directed by farmers who join through their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total membership of more than 400,000 and a voting membership of  80,000. IFB represents three out of four Illinois farmers.

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