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.

Propagating Natives from Seed

This program will discuss the ins and outs of collecting seed from native plants, the best ways to store them, and how
to get them to grow. We will take a particularly close look at how to break seed dormancy, perhaps the most
challenging and poorly understood aspect of propagation. But, by following a few simple protocols, you will find that
most species can be cultivated quite readily.

Presenter Bio:

Ed Cope is a Restoration Ecologist working for the Natural Land Institute, a land trust operating in northern Illinois.
Propagating native plants has been a labour of love for Ed, and he has accrued over a decade of experience planting
and stewarding prairie restorations. Among his favorite pursuits is cultivating rare and difficult-to- grow species.

Hill Prairies: Past, Present and Future

Illinois is the “Prairie State” but most people have misconceptions of what an actual prairie is. Hill prairies are more than just “prairies on a hill” and because of their landscape position and past land usage, they are one of the most common remnant prairie types left in central Illinois. John Wilker will share with us the many factors affecting development of these rare unique ecosystems. He will tell a compelling story of how they developed, why they are still on the landscape and what they mean for conservation in Illinois.

Presenter Bio:

John Wilker has Bachelor’s degree in Zoology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (SIUC) and a Master’s Degree in Plant Biology also from SIUC. He is currently employed as the Natural Areas Program Manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources with over 22 years of experience managing and conserving natural communities. John is also an adjunct instructor of Biology at Lincoln Land Community College with 15 years of experience teaching biology and field ecology at Lincoln Land and University of Illinois at Springfield.

Rain Gardens With Native Plants

Why do we need to be concerned about how we manage storm water around our homes? Storm water can carry pollutants from our lawns into the streams and rivers around our community as well as other problems. What can we do? In this program, Jeff Kohmstedt will share ways to manage this water such as by using rain barrels and creating rain gardens with native plants. He will also share other ways we can help protect the rivers, water, and wildlife from this run-off.

Jeff Kohmstedt joined Prairie Rivers Network in 2017 as its Communications and Outreach Coordinator. He has previously worked as outreach coordinator for the Illinois New Teacher Collaborative in Champaign, Illinois. He has worked as a grassroots lobbyist for the National Electrical Contractors Association in Washington, D.C., and he has taught composition at the University of Illinois, Parkland College, George Washington University, and Howard University.

Yard Smart Garden Walk

Yard SmartThe Ecology Action Center is holding its sixteenth annual Yard Smart Garden Walk on Saturday, June 23, 2018.  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 short presentation, and the Freecycle Exhange. Participants should bring their own reusable water bottles. 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.

 

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

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.

The Sugar Creek Stewards is part of the Ecology Action Center’s Clean Water programming, 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. Otherwise, please fill out the registration form below!

 

Wetlands in Nature

What is is wetland?  Well, how a wetland is defined can depend on the agency involved! In this program, Vernon LaGesse will discuss at the history of wetlands in Illinois and also a few current wetland restoration projects in the state.

Presenter Bio:

Vernon LaGesse has been conducting stewardship and restoration work for 30 years.  He is founder and Executive Director of a local not-for-profit land trust The Friends of Sangamon Valley in Springfield, IL.  His current work mostly involves organizing all stewardship activities for the organization.  These activities include workdays at various nature preserves and developing restoration plans for various nature preserves.

Rain Barrel Workshop

Join us at our upcoming rain barrel workshop on Saturday, June 2, 2018 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: 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. For safety reasons, all participants must be 18 years or older.

 

Pre-2011 EAC rain barrels:

If you built or bought an EAC rain barrel during or prior to 2011, please check to see if the lid of your barrel fits properly and there are nor holes or gaps that would allow mosquitoes inside the barrel; they can fit through very small gaps or cracks. If your rain barrel seals poorly or has noticeable cracks/gaps – you can attend a new workshop and replace your old barrel for a new one with a secure lid at a reduced price (see that option on the registration form below)

 

Mega Rain Harvester
275gal mega rain harvester

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.

Solar Bloomington-Normal 2.0 Solar Power Hour

Thinking about going solar?

Residents throughout McLean County have an opportunity to participate in Solar Bloomington-Normal 2.0, a grassroots program combining volume purchasing with community education to make solar more accessible and affordable. Property owners and renters alike may participate in this program!

Regardless of where you live in the county, you can participate in any of the free informational Solar Power Hours. You’ll learn about the basics of solar, its financial implications for a household, and how the solar group buy program works. After the session, get a free, no-obligation site assessment from the competitively selected installer. You have until September 30, 2018, to decide whether to get solar through the program.

Visit http://solarbloomingtonnormal.com for more information.