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.


Michael Brown
Executive Director


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

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


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 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:

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:

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

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

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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Support EAC climate efforts – donate to Climate Ride

CR_logoIn 2016 the level of carbon emissions reached a new threshold, never dropping below 400ppm at any time over the course of the year; this is the first time this has ever happened during the human existence. In the same way, average global temperatures continue to increase each and every year.  The first American climate refugees began their resettlement from Isle De Jean Charles, Louisiana to higher ground. Extreme weather events continue to increase in frequency.  The impacts of climate change are just beginning and much needs to be done to address the issue.

The Ecology Action Center is working to do its part, educating local residents on ways to reduce one’s footprint.  But additionally, EAC is working to quantify our local greenhouse gas emissions and work on community-wide strategies to reduce those emissions.  But these efforts take time and financial resources to bring them to fruition.

You can help by supporting local cyclists Kevin Loseke and Michael Brown as they bicycle 250 miles across Death Valley in February 2017 as part of Climate Ride to raise awareness of climate change and raise funds for the Ecology Action Center.  Climate Ride is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that organizes life-changing charitable events to raise awareness and support sustainability, active transportation, and environmental causes. Climate Ride events support a collection of beneficiary organizations including the Ecology Action Center and Illinois Green Economy Network that are working to engage citizens in the possibility of a green economy, educate the public about the interconnected web of environmental issues related to the climate crisis, mobilize government and businesses to enact sound energy policies that promote renewables, and raise the profile of green transportation.

Please support Kevin and Michael with a tax-deductible contribution to Climate Ride.