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.

Composting Workshop

Join us on Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. to build your own composter!  Backyard composting is an easy way to reduce waste and create rich soil nutrients to enrich your garden at the same time.  Taking advantage of natural processes, minimizes land-filled residential waste and produces a valuable organic fertilizer.

Turn pallets into a compost bin!

Pallet composter

The composting workshop includes everything you need to successfully begin home composting.  We’ll discuss various types of compost systems and techniques in addition to troubleshooting tips to avoid potential problems.  Participants will make and take home a composter ready for use as well as a kitchen compost pail.

Option 1: Wooden Pallet Composter

This collapsible composter will measure approximately 3x3x3 when set up.  It is open on the top, and easy to stir.

Price:  $15 for EAC members; $20 for nonmembers.

Convert a garbage can into a compost barrel!

Garbage can composter

Option 2: Plastic Garbage Cans

This model takes up little room and is easy to duplicate when you need more capacity.  Cans are approximately 30 gallons in size, and participants build TWO composting cans.

Price: $25 for EAC members; $30 for nonmembers.

Workshop space is limited and pre-registration is required. This workshop runs rain or shine. The construction process can get a bit messy so wear clothes that can get dirty. Bring an appropriate vehicle to transport your compost bin home. We will be using power tools; safety glasses are required and will be provided. For safety reasons, all participants must be 18 years or older.

Rain Barrel Workshop

Join us at our upcoming rain barrel workshop on Saturday, July 15, 2017, at 9:00 a.m., where YOU build your own water-saving rain water collection and storage container.

Workshop prices are $45 ($35 EAC member price).

The workshop includes:

  • A reused, 55-gallon, food-grade, heavy-gauge plastic barrel (non-food-grade, MSDS datasheet provided)
  • A flexible plastic elbow to direct rain water from your downspout to your rain barrel. Fits 3″ downspouts.
  • A 6″ heavy duty screen to prevent entry of mosquitoes and leaves
  • High-quality fittings for long life
  • Overflow hose and fittings with mosquito barrier

    rain-barrel2

    55-gallon, food-grade barrel

  • Instruction and use of all tools needed for the project
  • Workshop excludes installation materials for your specific home which may include concrete blocks, hacksaw, screwdriver, sheet metal screws, etc.

The fine print: This workshop runs rain or shine. The construction process can get a bit messy so wear clothes that can get dirty. The barrels measure 25″ x 35″ and weigh 25 pounds. Bring an appropriate vehicle to transport your barrel home. There is a limit of one rain barrel per household per workshop. We will use power tools: safety glasses are required and will be provided. For safety reasons, all participants must be 18 years or older.

Mega Rain Harvester

275gal mega rain harvester

*Note: If you are interested in a 275 gallon mega rain harvester (measure about 4′ x 4′ x 4′ and weigh 50 pounds), we are not building 275-gallon mega rain harvesters in this workshop, but they are available for purchase and delivery. They are $100 or $90 for EAC supporters plus tax. We can also deliver in Bloomington-Normal for $25 and in the rest of McLean County for $50.  Please contact the Ecology Action Center if you are interested in a mega rain harvester 309-454-3169.

The Refuge Food Forest Workday

More mulching and weeding will be in order by July — help us to protect what is sure to be a ton of berries and other fruits! Bring gloves. Tools will be provided.

Sugar Creek Stewards Workday

Come join us for our June workday along Sugar Creek! We need help improving Sugar Creek in designated areas throughout Bloomington and Normal, by clearing invasive plant species and managing the non-invasive plants. scs logo

The next workday is Saturday, July 15, from 9 am to 12 pm. Volunteers must be 18 years old or older (or 14 and accompanied by a parent or guardian) and be able to hike along uneven terrain and safely use basic hand tools such as loppers and bow saws. Please dress appropriately for the weather and bring your own work gloves and (reusable) bottle of water. We typically have scheduled work days the 3rd Saturday of the month throughout the year (June is an exception due to staff availability) – invasive species never sleep, so neither can we!

The Sugar Creek Stewards is a Clean Water Program of the Ecology Action Center, and is supported by the City of Bloomington and the Town of Normal. For more information, contact us.

barry-mantis

 

Details on worksite and meeting location will be provided to registered volunteers prior to the workday. To become a regular EAC volunteer and be automatically contacted for future Sugar Creek Steward workdays and other volunteer opportunities, register at EAC-Volunteer.

 

Yard Smart Garden Walk

Yard SmartThe Ecology Action Center is holding its fifteenth annual Yard Smart Garden Walk on Saturday, June 24, 2017. This free tour highlights beautiful and functional yards in our community that protect our environment, benefit wildlife, and use few or no synthetic chemicals.  The event features a plant and garden tool “Freecycle” Exchange. Bring garden plants (please label them!) or tools to give away— everything must be free.

After the garden walk, we reconvene for (a zero waste) lunch, a presentation, and the Freecycle Exhange. Participants should bring their own water (reusable water bottles, please!). 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.

This event is free (but donations to offset the cost of lunch are welcome)! Please register for the garden walk using the form below.

More information on the Yard Smart program as well as a set of free resource fact sheets is available at www.yardsmart.org.

We had an overwhelming response to this year’s garden walk.  All of our spaces are full and registration is now closed.  Keep an eye out next June for our 16th annual Yard Smart Garden Walk! 

 

IL EPA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event

Illinois EPA has funded a limited number of HHW collection events for spring 2017.  Collections are scheduled on Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., for the greatest convenience of working families. Citizens are asked to bring harsh chemical cleaners, paints, thinners, antifreeze, weed killers, insecticides and pesticides, and similar hazardous household products. Explosives, propane tanks, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, agricultural chemicals and business wastes are not accepted. View a complete list of household hazardous wastes that are and are not accepted at one-day collections.

The Refuge Food Forest Workday

The berries are growing … and so are the weeds! Join us for some good times pulling weeds and distributing mulch. Your hard work will ensure a great harvest later this summer!

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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