Request for Proposals – Hazardous waste services

RE: Request For Proposals

To whom it may concern:

The Ecology Action Center of Normal, Illinois, is soliciting proposals for a fall 2017 Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event for the residents of McLean County, Illinois. Please download the
RFP from EAC 2017 HHW Collection RFP.

The Ecology Action Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit environmental agency in McLean County, Illinois. Among other roles, the EAC acts as the community solid waste agency for the City of
Bloomington, Town of Normal, and McLean County.

Sincerely,

Michael Brown
Executive Director

 

July 18, 2017 Update: Questions and Answers in Response to HHW RFP 7.18.17

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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2016 EAC Annual Report

The Ecology Action Center’s annual compilation of program activities for 2016 is now available online.

Ecology Action Center 2016 Annual Report

April Workshops: Build-Your-Own Rain Barrels and Composters

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release: April 10, 2017

Contact:   Kris Hall
Phone:      (309) 454-3169 x. 12

The Ecology Action Center begins its annual series of water-conserving and waste-reduction workshops in April, with sessions on building rain-harvesting and composting systems for your yard or garden. EAC provides all the materials, equipment, and training so that each participant goes home with a high-quality system and all the knowledge necessary to use it, at a very low price.

Spaces are available in the rain barrel workshops on Wednesday, April 12, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. or Saturday, April 15 from 9:00-10:00 a.m.  Participants will make a 55-gallon rain barrel.  Workshop fees are $45 ($35 for EAC members).  Rain barrels provide free water, increasing water conservation and reducing storm water runoff pollution, a major source of water pollution locally and nationwide.

Also scheduled is a composting workshop on Saturday, April 15, from 10:00-11:00 a.m. with a choice of a larger composter constructed of repurposed wood pallets or a pair of smaller composters made of modified 30-gallon plastic bins. Workshop fees are $15 ($10 for EAC members) for the pallet-composter and $20 ($15 for EAC members) for the pair of smaller bins. All participants also receive a 1-gallon kitchen compost pail. Backyard composting is the easiest way to reduce waste from home using natural processes to convert food and fiber waste into valuable organic fertilizer, rich in soil nutrients.

Workshop space is limited and pre-registration is required; online registration is available at ecologyactioncenter.org. Consult the BN-Green Events calendar on the right side of the home page for dates and registration.

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.

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Town of Normal: Notice of Electric Aggregation Scam

Normal, IL – December 19, 2016 – It has come to the Town’s attention that solicitors have recently been sharing incorrect information regarding the Town of Normal Electric Aggregation program. This is a scam. Residents participating in the Town’s aggregation program should be aware that there has been no change to the current program or electric supply provider, Constellation Energy. Neither the Town of Normal nor the current provider are currently engaged in any door-to-door solicitation activity.

Solicitors operating in the Town of Normal are required to register with the Town of Normal Police Department and provide proof of permit when operating in the community. If you encounter a solicitor claiming to falsely represent the Town of Normal or the electric aggregation program, you should ask to see a valid permit, document the individual’s name, and contact the Town of Normal Police Department at (309) 888 – 5030.

As a reminder, all communication regarding the aggregation program is done through mail. If you believe you have been misled and signed up for an alternative energy supply program, please contact Ben McCready at (309) 454 – 9504 for additional assistance.

More information: https://www.normal.org/1103/Electric-Aggregation

Solar Training Academy starts January 14

Learn the Solar PV Design and Installation Process in Five Weekends

Starting January 14, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) will be holding the Solar Training Academy in Normal, IL. Students learn the full solar PV design and installation process, with no previous solar experience or prerequisites required. The course runs one weekend per month, January – May 2017.

Upon academy completion, students qualify to sit for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Associates Exam. Being a NABCEP Certified Solar Professional is the industry “gold standard” as noted by Silicon Energy employee and Academy graduate, Will Gorilla, “If I had a candidate apply for a job and they were NABCEP certified, it would completely make them stand out.”

The Solar Training Academy provides professional networking opportunities, as well as continuing education credits needed to stay current on certifications and updates needed to maintain competitive edge in the industry. MREA instructors are professionals that work in the field and are up to date on the newest techniques and technologies in the ever evolving solar industry.

Classes will be held at Heartland Community College, 1500 West Raab Road, in Normal, IL 61761. The course instructor is Alex Jarvis. Alex has been working in the renewable energy field since 2006. Alex instructs PV classes across the states and writes about renewable energy in Indiana. Alex holds a B.A. in Economics from Indiana University. He and his company design and install both grid-tied and battery-based systems, also working O&M for MW sized PV sites. Alex is a NABCEP Certified PV Installer. Alex teaches PV classes for the MREA, including PV Sales and Finance (PV 203). Alex also holds MREA Certified PV Site Assessor certificate.

Academy format follows MREA’s accredited class progression including:

  • Basic Photovoltaics
  • PV Site Assessment
  • Intermediate PV
  • PV Design Lab
  • PV Sales and Finance
  • Completed training qualifies students to sit for:
    • NABCEP PV Associate Exam (MREA’s STA has a 96% student pass rate)
    • 63 hours of classroom training needed for NABCEP
    • PV Installation and NABEP PV Technical Sales Professional
    • MREA PV Site Assessor Certificate Exam
    • MREA PV Design and Sales Certificate Exam

You can learn more and register for the Solar Training Academy at: https://www.midwestrenew.org/product/sta-il-2017/

Giving Tuesday

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 is #givingtuesday, an international day of giving.  Please consider making a donation to support the Ecology Action Center’s work to improve our local environment.  We welcome contributions towards a few different funds, depending on what priorities you choose to support.  As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.  Thank you for your support!

eac_2016_vertb    hhw-logo-2016  CR_logo radon-awareness2

 

Solar Bloomington-Normal Shines and Surpasses Goals, Lowers Solar Costs

November 15, 2016

SolarBNMclean County, IL, 11/15/16 – The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) in partnership with The Ecology Action Center (EAC) of Normal, have surpassed their goal of 250 kW solar for home, business and farm installation in McLean County through their Solar Group Buy Program. Meeting this benchmark gave participants an additional discount of 3% on top of the already discounted group solar base cost, making solar even more accessible and affordable for residents through the power of volume purchasing. The program ended on October 31 with 434 kW committed on 32 homes and businesses in McLean County. Notably, two local businesses, Professional Self Storage/Foundry LLC (123 kW) and 121 N. Main Street LLC (75 kW), will be building the largest two arrays.

The largest solar array was a collaboration between Professional Self Storage and the tenants of the Foundry project (a development by Workbench Collaborative), including new and existing businesses in the community – Green Top Grocery, Bloomington Cycle and Fitness, and Gingerbread House.

“Green Top has long dreamed of using solar power to help reduce our carbon footprint,” said Michael Pennington, Green Top Grocery General Manager. “We wouldn’t have been able to realize that dream without the group-buy program and other incentives that helped make it financially feasible for The Foundry LLC to include solar power in our development.”

prendergast-second-6-3Caryn Davis of Bloomington Cycle explained that the solar installation is consistent with their values as a business. “Our business model has always focused on making it easier for our employees (and customers) to ride to work. Solar aligns with our belief that anything you can do to reduce your negative impact on our environment, is the right thing to do.”

A total of 20 informational Power Hour sessions were held since the program’s launch in April, reaching over 230 individuals. Michael Brown, Executive Director of the Ecology Action Center, was happy the Ecology Action Center could help with this program, “As we begin work on a new clean air initiative for Bloomington-Normal, strategies like this are a win-win, helping residents and businesses lower their energy bills while also improving air quality with clean, renewable energy”.

Education is the core of the program. MREA, EAC, and StraightUp Solar staff educate participants on all aspects of the solar process, making the entire project easily accessible and cost-effective for participants. Through the program, participants don’t have to worry about selecting an installer, applying for state and federal incentives, working with the utility, zoning, or any other task that might otherwise deter an individual from going solar. The Group Buy Program helps participants navigate the easiest and most cost effective route to solar.

“MREA and EAC work together to educate those who are interested in going solar,” said Peter Murphy, solar program manager at MREA. “The goal is for folks to learn about solar, which can seem daunting at first, and then go into the process with eyes wide open.”

Together the EAC and MREA have solidified local company StraightUp Solar as the program’s installer through a competitive bid process. StraightUp Solar has installed hundreds of solar arrays and has both master electricians and North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certified professionals on staff. MREA is an advocate for having NABCEP-certified installers on all solar projects to ensure systems are completed to the highest standard of quality and safety. StraightUp Solar invited another local small business, Wilcox Electric, to assist with the program’s many installations. StraightUp Solar provides interested participants free site assessments, helping customers determine whether rooftop or ground-mounted solar will make sense on their property.

Interested participants had until September 30th to formally express interest in the program, with a deadline of October 31st to sign a contract. The Solar Bloomington-Normal Group Buy Program is brought to you by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), with support from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. For more information about the Solar Bloomington-Normal group buy, contact MREA’s Solar Program Manager, Peter Murphy, at 414-988-7963, or peterm@midwestrenew.org.

The MREA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization. Founded in 1990, the MREA promotes renewable energy and sustainable living through education and demonstration. To learn more, call 715-592-6595 or visit www.midwestrenew.org.

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.

 

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