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Community Composting

Community Composting has arrived in Bloomington-Normal!

So you want to compost but don’t want to deal with the mess?  You want to use compostable food packaging from your favorite local restaurant but know it’s not compostable in a backyard compost pile?  Maybe you live in an apartment and don’t have anyplace to compost.

Easy residential composting service is now available through a unique drop-off program using a kiosk with key-card access.  Residents can sign up for the service through the purchase of a Kiosk Starter Kit for $20.99.  The Starter Kit includes a 5-gallon bucket, educational materials, a 30-pack of compostable liners, and your kiosk access card.  When you run out of liners, you can get a refill for $16.50 which includes another 30 liners and covers composting costs.

DONATE: Your tax-deductible donation or sponsorship of the BN Community Compost program will help cover the start-up costs of this program and will allow us to expand to a Compost Kiosk at a second Bloomington-Normal location in the near future.

WHAT CAN I COMPOST: Food scraps and leftovers – vegetables, meats, prepared foods, dairy, bones, egg shells, etc.  Also Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) certified compostable packaging, paper towels, paper napkins, uncoated paper plates, soiled cardboard/pizza boxes, etc.

WHERE: The Community Composting Kiosk is located at Normandy Village in Normal, off of Beech Street.  It is a pay-as-you go service that requires a current program keycard to access.  Usage of the service requires signing up for a Compost Kiosk Starter Kit.

SIGN UP: The Ecology Action Center is taking orders online for the Compost Kiosk Starter Kits, which include your keycard. Your starter kit may be picked up at the EAC in curbside pickup by appointment.

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES: Does your organization or business value organics composting or want to help support the biggest new waste recovery service in McLean County?  Sponsors of the Community Compost program receive tax benefits as well as recognition relative to the level of sponsorship.  Top-level sponsors receive recognition on a community compost kiosk.  For more information, contact Michael Brown at 309-454-3169 x.11 or [email protected]

Community Composting BN Sponsors:

 

Zimmerman and Armstrong Investment Advisors

Myra and George Gordon

 

 

 

 

McLean County Waste Rates Converging: 2019 recycling rate dips slightly while waste landfilled continues to decrease

PRESS RELEASE: For immediate release July 13, 2020
Contact:
Michael Brown 309-454-3169 x.11

McLean County’s recycling rate stayed relatively steady from 2018 to 2019 with only a 1.4% decline. The Ecology Action Center’s annual calculation of community-wide waste generation and recycling shows that the County reached a recycling rate of 45.74%, dropping from the all-time high of 46.44%. As a result, the County maintained progress towards the new community-wide recycling rate goal of 50% set in 2017 under the new 20-year solid waste management plan.  No single category of recyclable materials saw significant fluctuations from the year prior, while there were minor fluctuations across the board in all material streams.

  2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Total MSW Recycled (tons)  73,833 85,196 81,302 83,335 88,459 94,804 88,330
Total MSW Landfilled (tons) 121,991 141,068 154,662 120,815 124,364 109,467 104,772
Total Municipal Solid Waste Generated (tons) 195,824 226,264 235,964 204,150 211,230 204,271 193,102
Percent Change from Previous Year 6.96% 15.54% 4.29% -13.48% 3.47% -3.29% -5.47%
Recycling Rate 37.70% 37.65% 34.46% 40.82% 41.88% 46.41% 45.74%
Percent Change from Previous Year 3.43% -0.13% -8.49% 18.47% 2.59% 10.82% -1.44%

With the closure of the McLean County Landfill in late 2018, the Ecology Action Center continues to focus on waste management priorities as outlined in the Twenty-Year Materials Recovery and Resource Management Plan for McLean County, Bloomington, and Normal, Illinois. This includes diversion strategies for waste that would otherwise require landfill disposal further away from the source of origin.  The impact of the new multifamily recycling ordinance in Normal was undetermined as of yet with only a partial year of the program activity.

McLean County waste rates are converging

The Ecology Action Center annually collects waste and recycling data to calculate the amount of municipal solid waste generated and recycled for all of McLean County as a lagging indicator of the impact of local recycling and outreach programs.  Among other services, the EAC acts as the solid waste agency for Bloomington, Normal, and McLean County and provides technical assistance, recycling promotion, household hazardous waste coordination, education and outreach.

Information on residential recycling, recycling of nontraditional materials, and information on disposal of household hazardous wastes is available by calling (309) 454-3169 or visiting ecologyactioncenter.org.  Find comprehensive online listings for recycling and waste disposal at RecycleBN.org.

 

Full time opening – Program Coordinator

Ecology Action Center
Program Coordinator Job Description

The Program Coordinator is a full-time salaried position with health insurance and paid time off including annual vacation time, sick time, and holidays.  The position is contingent upon funding.  Specific responsibilities may vary and are subject to change dependent upon funding opportunities.

This position will focus on the coordination and implementation of energy efficiency, recycling and waste reduction, or clean water protection outreach programs.  Specific roles depend on pending funding opportunities.  Candidates should possess a strong environmental health, energy efficiency, or environmental studies background.   Excellent written and verbal communication skills are required, and familiarity with relevant technology and software.

Major responsibilities include some combination, but not all of the following:

  • Promotion, coordination, and implementation of educational outreach programs such as fourth and third grade classroom programs in recycling/waste reduction and watersheds/stormwater runoff pollution.
  • Coordination of volunteer outreach projects including storm drain stenciling, creek clean ups, and/or natural areas stewardship workdays.
  • Educate residents at community events through information booths
  • Presentations to community groups.
  • Coordination of special events as assigned.
  • Research and project development to address program needs.
  • Coordinate programs to combine duties whenever necessary to save time and costs.
  • Assessment of homes and small businesses for energy use and adequate weatherization and provide detailed written reports of findings and recommendations.
  • Promotion of clean renewable energy such as solar PV through coordination of solar group purchasing programs, educational sessions, and other outreach.
  • Creation of educational content and messaging to promote program objectives (waste, clean water, or energy efficiency).
  • Update program-specific websites with new and updated content.

Additional duties may include assisting or leading educational programs, scheduling of programs, promoting programs and events of the EAC, working with interns and volunteers to facilitate programs of the EAC, staffing the center including answering phone calls, greeting the public, distributing informational materials, and assisting with the regular running of the center.  Weekend and evening hours are required occasionally.

Qualifications

  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree.  Preferred course of study in Energy, Environmental Health, Environmental Studies or other environmental sciences major.  Preferred Masters of Science in relevant study area.
  • 3 years of experience in nontraditional education and/or community outreach with varied age groups and other demographics
  • Strong communication skills required, both written and verbal
  • Experience and high degree of comfort with web and computer technologies: spreadsheets, social media, WordPress, databases,  NeonCRM, 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.

How to Apply

To apply, candidates should complete an EAC Employment Application and submit it with a resume and cover letter to Executive Director Michael Brown at [email protected]  The position is open until filled but applicants should submit their application materials by January 7, 2020 for initial consideration.

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 our community 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.

EAC seeks nominations for 2019 McLean County Green Awards

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release
September 30, 2019

Contact:   Michael Brown
Phone:     (309) 454-3169 x.11

The Ecology Action Center presents the annual McLean County Green Awards to recognize local efforts to improve our environment.  Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 awards, with recipients being named in November at the EAC’s annual fall event, the Sustainable Gourmet.

The McLean County Recycling and Waste Reduction Award identifies businesses, schools or organizations with outstanding recycling programs or waste reduction efforts or individuals who have played a role in a successful program or effort. While nominations will be accepted for any recycling or waste reduction project, areas of growing interest include source reduction efforts, especially alternatives to single use items (plastic or paper grocery bags,

The Anne McGowan Making a World of Difference Award recognizes outstanding projects, activities, or individuals in McLean County who promote environmental awareness or natural resource conservation. The EAC dedicated the World of Difference Award in memory of McGowan, an early director of the EAC, due to her ability to inspire and motivate others to take action.  Former EAC Executive Director Michelle Covi described Anne as a catalyst for action.

She was energetic and never hesitated to get her hands dirty. Her natural curiosity and love of the natural world fueled her passion for wildlife exploration and preservation. She shared her love with children and adults alike when she conducted nature walks, wildflower walks, and nature programs. She inspired and nurtured life-long dedication to environmental awareness and conservation in children, college students, and adults whose lives she touched.

In the spirit of Anne, the EAC seeks nominations of worthy projects, organizations, or individuals in nomination for the Anne McGowan Making World of Difference Award or the McLean County Recycling and Waste Reduction Award. Current EAC Executive Director Michael Brown suggested, “if more of us followed the outstanding example set by Anne McGowan, the world would be a much better place.”

Nominations may be made online at ecologyactioncenter.org/green-awards/ or by stopping by the Ecology Action Center at 202 W College Avenue in Normal; all submissions are due by Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 5 p.m. The recipients of the 2019 awards will be named at the EAC’s annual Sustainable Gourmet event on Thursday, November 14, 2019. 

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.

Ecology Action Center launches HHW Fund Campaign for a fall 2019 McLean County Household Hazardous Waste Collection; private donations needed to reach goal

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Michael Brown, (309) 454-3169 x.11
For immediate release: June 17, 2019

With early support from numerous local partners and sponsors, the Ecology Action Center (EAC) is optimistic about a local hazardous waste collection in the near future. Illinois Farm Bureau® (IFB), Compeer Financial, Rivian Automotive, Republic Services, Henson Disposal and Recycling, and Area Disposal Services have all pledged their support for the tentative fall 2019 McLean County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection event. These entities join the City of Bloomington, McLean County, and the Town of Normal as part of a unique public-private partnership led by the EAC.

“We are one of only a handful of Illinois communities stepping up to provide for HHW collection in the absence of reliable Illinois EPA funding and the only community anywhere that I am aware of that provides this service through a combination of public and private funding,” said Michael Brown, Executive Director of the Ecology Action Center. “We encourage all local residents to donate to the McLean County HHW Fund and support this important effort.”

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. The McLean County HHW Fund was created to meet the need and has provided for three successful local HHW collections and nearly 75,000 gallons of hazardous wastes collected for safe disposal.

The EAC has set a fund raising goal for the 2019 HHW Fund of $35,000 to allow for a growing awareness of the need for proper hazardous waste disposal and related increases in attendance at the fall HHW collection. The EAC asks local residents to make tax-deductible donations at HHWmclean.org; businesses interested in sponsorship opportunities can contact Michael Brown at [email protected] or 309-454-3169 x.11.

Improper disposal of household hazardous wastes pollutes local water supplies and the 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 309-454-3169. 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 local residents 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.

EAC seeks proposals for hazardous waste collection and disposal

The Ecology Action Center of Normal, Illinois, is soliciting proposals for a fall 2019 Household Hazardous Waste collection event for the residents of McLean County, Illinois.  Please download the full Request For Proposals (pdf) and bid sheet for completion.  Sealed proposals are due to Executive Director Michael Brown by 2 p.m. (CST) on Friday, July 12, 2019.

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.

On America Recycles Day – Are You Recycling Right?

Bloomington-Normal, IL-  Nov. 15, 2018 –  On America Recycles Day, local government leaders, multiple organizations and the waste industry, are asking consumers if they are recycling right.  Based on audits performed by the recycling industry, one in four items placed in the recycling cart is not recyclable which has led to increased contamination.

To tackle the issue of recycling contamination, the National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) and Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) formed a state-wide task force to bring the recycling industry – haulers and sorting facility operators – together with government and business to develop simple, cohesive recycling education materials to help residents better understand what items should and should not be placed in recycling carts.

“Recycling is more highly contaminated with non-recyclable garbage than ever before,” said Walter Willis, SWALCO executive director and co-chair of the NWRA – SWANA task force.  “The non-recyclable items weigh down sorting facilities, reduce commodity prices, and affect the re-manufacturing markets,” continued Willis.

“Recycling facilities report contamination from 25% to over 35% in some of the recycling streams,” said Lisa Disbrow, vice chair of the Illinois Chapter of NWRA and co-chair of the NWRA and SWANA task force. “As recycling facilities add labor to help remove contamination and slow lines to improve recovery, these additional costs are passed along which may increase costs for local governments, and ultimately residents,” commented Disbrow.

The task force identified the most common items placed in the recycling cart that are not recyclable including plastic bags, tanglers (i.e. garden hoses, wire, cords, clothing), food waste, medical waste including syringes, and batteries.  As a result of the task force discussions, guidelines were developed to represent the common recycling denominators of all programs throughout the state, and the goal is to have them as go-to guidelines for all programs, all haulers, and all educators throughout the state. Participating in the discussions at the task force, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency developed and launched a new webpage this month to answer recycling questions for Illinois residents: https://www2.illinois.gov/epa/topics/waste-management/Pages/recycling.aspx

“Plastics are the most commonly misunderstood items,” explained Marie Streenz, Operations Analyst with Midwest Fiber Recycling in Normal. “The resin identification code number in the triangle does not mean that a plastic object is recyclable!  Plastic containers – bottles, tubs, jugs and jars – are the only plastic items recyclable in your curbside carts. Please keep all flexible plastic packaging, pouches, bags, and wraps out of your recycling!”

To both reduce contamination and simplify the message, a streamlined recycling flyer has been developed that is virtually universal across Illinois.  “Beyond that, if local residents want detailed answers of what is and what is not recyclable, they can always call us at 309-454-3169 or check out our easy-to-use Recycle Coach app at RecycleBN.org,” said Michael Brown of the Ecology Action Center.

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Employment Opportunity: Part-time Program Coordinator

Program Coordinator – BNCESP

The Ecology Action Center is seeking a part-time Program Coordinator. The main responsibility of this position is coordinating the development of the Bloomington-Normal Community Energy Strategic Plan (BNCESP).  This is a short-term (approximately 4 months to 8 months), hourly position with no benefits.  The position is contingent upon program funding.

Major Responsibilities

  • Development of effective framework and realistic timeline for plan development process
  • Communication with stakeholder/focus groups
  • Preparation of initial materials for distribution to stakeholders defining roles, explaining process, identifying priorities, possible strategies, to include research into success emissions reduction strategies in other communities and summary of 2015 GHG Inventory findings
  • Creation of detailed written plan for municipal/public dissemination
  • Inclusion of NAAQS/ozone attainment status as a high priority objective within the BNCESP

Skills and Qualifications

  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree.  Preferred course of study in Energy, Environmental Health, Environmental Studies or other environmental sciences major.
  • Understanding and ability to articulate energy issues, greenhouse gases, climate, etc.
  • Ability to quickly become familiar with relevant ICLEI GHG inventory protocols, & USDOE CESP standards
  • Excellent communication skills–both verbal and written
  • Ability to distill technical information and explain in layperson terms
  • High comfort level with learning/using new software (ClearPath from ICLEI)
  • Excellent organization skills
  • Familiarity with MS Excel, MS Word, MS Publisher

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 [email protected] or Ecology Action Center, 202 W College Ave, Normal, IL 61761.  Position open until filled; please submit an application by Wednesday, October 17 2018 to be considered for the initial round of interviews.