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.

Yard Smart: Eco-Friendly Yard Maintenance

Learn how using Yard Smart gardening and lawn care practices can reduce negative impacts on the environment and produce beautiful and bountiful gardens that work with instead of against nature. Yard Smart is part of the Ecology Action Center’s Clean Water Program and recognizes local homeowners who use ecologically–sustainable practices in their yard to the benefit of the whole community.

Presenter Bio:
Larissa Armstrong has worked for the Ecology Action Center since the fall of 2010 when she was hired to provide part-time assistance with a wide variety of programs. She started working for the EAC full-time in 2016. Beginning in 2018, Larissa was promoted to Assistant Director. She coordinates the BN Energy Bright energy efficiency program, Yard Smart, Solar Bloomington-Normal, and annual giving and fundraising in addition to other responsibilities. Larissa has a Bachelor’s Degree from Illinois State University in Politics and Government, and a Master’s Degree from Rutgers University in Global Affairs with a research focus on Global Environmental Issues.

Native Plant Identification

Learning and understanding more about native plants and plant communities starts with proper identification. This program will guide you through the process of identifying a plant, from a nameless unknown entity to something that has value and meaning in our natural world. We will not only discuss traditional plant identification resources but also some new (modern?) methods using social media and various apps. Time will be allotted at the end of the program for identification of unknowns brought in by the audience.

Presenter Bio:
Paul Marcum is the Assistant Project Leader for Botany with the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) Wetland Science Program. In this capacity, he co-coordinates activities within the group and conducts environmental surveys for potential Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) projects. Paul has been fortunate to research and publish numerous manuscripts and technical reports on Illinois natural areas and rare species. He has worked widely throughout the United States and abroad, and has collected and identified thousands of plant specimens. He especially loves sedges in the genus Carex. Paul is a life member and past President of the Illinois Native Plant Society (INPS) and founder and administrator for the Facebook group, Midwest Graminoids.

“Why Should I Recycle?”– Summer Library Reading Program 2019

This year, the Ecology Action Center will incorporate the Summer Reading Program theme, “It’s Showtime at Your Library!” by offering a reading and discussion of “Why Should I Recycle?” In this program we will focus on why reusing and recycling items are more favorable options than filling up our landfills as we follow the story of one family’s quest to properly recycle all that they can. We will follow this up with a fun activity and discussion about the various everyday items that can be reused and recycled into new items that we may not even realize are made from recycled materials!

“Why Should I Recycle?”– Summer Library Reading Program 2019

This year, the Ecology Action Center will incorporate the Summer Reading Program theme, “It’s Showtime at Your Library!” by offering a reading and discussion of “Why Should I Recycle?” In this program we will focus on why reusing and recycling items are more favorable options than filling up our landfills as we follow the story of one family’s quest to properly recycle all that they can. We will follow this up with a fun activity and discussion about the various everyday items that can be reused and recycled into new items that we may not even realize are made from recycled materials!

Yard Smart Garden Walk

The Ecology Action Center is holding its sixteenth annual Yard Smart Garden Walk on Saturday, June 29, 2019.  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 lunch from Green Top Grocery, a short presentation, and the Freecycle plant and garden tool exchange. 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. We will send event details to registered participants closer to the event date. More information on the Yard Smart program as well as a set of free resource fact sheets is available at www.yardsmart.org.  

Rain Barrel Workshop

Join us at our upcoming rain barrel workshop on Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 6:00 p.m., where YOU build your own water-saving rain water collection and storage container.

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

  • A reused, 55-gallon, food-grade, heavy-gauge plastic barrel (non-food-grade)
  • 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
  • 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

*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.

“Why Should I Recycle?”– Summer Library Reading Program 2019

This year, the Ecology Action Center will incorporate the Summer Reading Program theme, “It’s Showtime at Your Library!” by offering a reading and discussion of “Why Should I Recycle?” In this program we will focus on why reusing and recycling items are more favorable options than filling up our landfills as we follow the story of one family’s quest to properly recycle all that they can. We will follow this up with a fun activity and discussion about the various everyday items that can be reused and recycled into new items that we may not even realize are made from recycled materials!

“Why Should I Recycle?”– Summer Library Reading Program 2019

This year, the Ecology Action Center will incorporate the Summer Reading Program theme, “It’s Showtime at Your Library!” by offering a reading and discussion of “Why Should I Recycle?” In this program we will focus on why reusing and recycling items are more favorable options than filling up our landfills as we follow the story of one family’s quest to properly recycle all that they can. We will follow this up with a fun activity and discussion about the various everyday items that can be reused and recycled into new items that we may not even realize are made from recycled materials!