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.

Greenways Conference

This conference showcases our community’s greenways–narrow bands of open spaces that can provide habitat for wildlife, provide essential routes for species migration, filter pollutants from water, enhance scenic and aesthetic qualities, and in many instances expand recreational as well as social, cultural, and economic opportunities. The conference is a chance for anyone who cares about our greenways to come together to mingle, learn from each other, and get inspired.

This fall’s event, held at Uptown Station on November 3, features Jeff Walk of the Nature Conservancy as our keynote speaker, who will open the event with a presentation on the benefits of green infrastructure for watersheds. The Agricultural Watershed Institute’s Steve John will close the event with a discussion of the renewable energy potential of perennial prairie grasses. In between, we’ll hear about:

Outdoor Recreational Opportunities: What’s Available Right Now?, featuring:
Terry Brown, Pantagraph Outdoor Editor and President of Wired2Fish.com
Bill Davison, Educator at the University of Illinois Extension
Mike Steffa, Director of Parks and Recreation for McLean County
Stewardship of Urban Waterways: Sugar Creek
Greenways Opportunities Throughout the Region, featuring:
Jackie Kraft, Director of the McLean County Soil and Water District and Treasurer for the Friends of EverBloom
Angela Funk, Director of the Sugar Grove Nature Center
Erin Herbez, Administrative Director of the ParkLands Foundation. Introduction by Joan Brehm, professor of Environmental Sociology at ISU.

Composting Workshop

Join us on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 90 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.

Sugar Creek Stewards Workday

Come join us for our October 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, October 21, 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 – invasive species never sleep, so neither can we!

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!

Sustainable Gourmet 2.0

 

The Ecology Action Center invites you to attend “Wine & Dine, Brew & Chew: Sustainable Gourmet 2.0,” the twelfth annual fundraising event on Thursday, October 12, at 5:30 p.m. This year’s event will feature artisanal local hors d’oeuvres prepared by the culinary team at Epiphany Farms, sampling of sustainably produced wine from Uptown Normal’s Stave Wine Bar, Central-Illinois crafted beer from JT Walker’s in Mahomet and Big Thorn Farm, the nation’s only off-grid farmhouse brewery. This popular fundraiser for the EAC also includes a silent auction with fabulous sustainable items from local businesses and organizations.

During the event, the Ecology Action Center will announce the 2017 recipients of the annual McLean County Green Awards, recognizing efforts to improve our local environment.  Nominations for these awards are being taken until September 14; visit ecologyactioncenter.org to make a nomination for a local individual or business who deserves recognition for their environmental efforts.

Wine & Dine, Brew & Chew will be held at Epiphany Farms Ballroom at 220 E. Front Street in Bloomington, home to incredible gourmet farm to fork creations. Proceeds from this fundraiser benefit the Ecology Action Center and its important environmental sustainability efforts in Bloomington-Normal and McLean County.  Tickets must be purchased in advance; the ticket sales deadline is October 8 or when tickets are sold out, whichever comes first. This event has sold out the past four years in a row so attendees are encouraged to buy tickets early. For more information, contact the Ecology Action Center at (309) 454-3169.

This event is being sponsored by Invenergy, Straight Up Solar, Dr. Matt Fraker & Dr. Sherri Thornton, Stave Wine Bar, Epiphany Farms, JT Walker’s, Big Thorn Farm, WGLT, and Palace Events.

SORRY – TICKETS HAVE SOLD OUT!

 

 

ParkLands at 50 years: Mission unchanged; Methods evolving

Guy Fraker will share with us information on how the ParkLands Foundation is involved in land preservation in Illinois. ParkLands was founded in 1967, the consummation of Loring Merwin’s (the publisher of the Pantagraph) vision.  The original concept was for ParkLands to act as an intermediary, assembling adjacent tracts of land which would them be conveyed to an appropriate unit of government to preserve. Unfortunately this plan did not work out as intended. ParkLands now holds over 3,000 acres. This property is actively managed by ParkLands to restore it to its original condition. ParkLands  stands as  a shining example of local action and leadership , funded by generous donations, large and small. It helps preserves the Illinois landscape that was here first.

Guy Fraker is an Honorary Board of the ParkLands Foundation and an attorney. He is also the author of two book on Abraham Lincoln, is a frequent speaker on Lincoln, and is involved in a number of Lincoln related projects.

For more information on this program please visit http://illinoisprairie.wildones.org/events/origin-and-history-of-parklands/

Public comment period opens on proposed new 20 year solid waste management plan

Per the Illinois Solid Waste Planning and Recycling Act, each county shall have an official plan for management of the municipal solid waste (MSW) generated within its boundaries. The first McLean County Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan was adopted in October 1991. After some minor amendments, it was readopted in October 1992. Following that, the plan has been updated every five years as required, with plan updates being adopted in 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012.

The Ecology Action Center acts as the solid waste agency for McLean County, the City of Bloomington, and Town of Normal, providing services including recycling education and outreach, household hazardous waste coordination, and solid waste planning. At the direction of the McLean County Solid Waste Technical Committee in November 2015, the Ecology Action Center staff began work not on the usual five-year update, but rather a new 20-year solid waste plan for the community.

A new waste plan is necessary due to the significant changes that have occurred since the development of the original plan in 1991. In addition to substantial improvements in recycling technology, infrastructure, and residential practices, other variables have shifted, such as commodity markets and landfill capacity. The McLean County Landfill is currently estimated to reach capacity and begin closure in the first quarter of 2018.

Per the Illinois Solid Waste Planning and Recycling Act, each solid waste management plan shall conform to the waste management hierarchy and include the following provisions:

  • Description of the origin, content and weight or volume of municipal waste currently generated within the county’s boundaries, and the origin, content, and weight or volume of municipal waste that will be generated within the county’s boundaries during the next 20 years, including an assessment of the primary variables affecting this estimate and the extent to which they can reasonably be expected to occur.
  • A description of the facilities where municipal waste is currently being processed or disposed of and the remaining available permitted capacity of such facilities.
  • A description of the facilities and programs that are proposed for the management of municipal waste generated within the county’s boundaries during the next 20 years, including, but not limited to their size, expected cost and financing method.
  • An evaluation of the environmental, energy, life cycle cost and economic advantages and disadvantages of the proposed waste management facilities and programs.
  • A description of the time schedule for the development and operation of each proposed facility or program.
  • The identity of potential sites within the county where each proposed waste processing, disposal and recycling program will be located or an explanation of how the sites will be chosen. For any facility outside the county that the county proposes to utilize, the plan shall explain the reasons for selecting such facility.
  • The identity of the governmental entity that will be responsible for implementing the plan on behalf of the county and explanation of the legal basis for the entity’s authority to do so.

In addition, adoption and updating of the solid waste plan must adhere to the following requirements:

  • Prior to adoption by the governing body of the county, the county shall submit copies of the proposed plan for review and comment to the Agency, all municipalities within the county, all areawide planning agencies and the county health department.
  • The county shall also make the proposed plan available for public review and comment. The period for review and comment shall be 90 days. The county shall hold at least one public hearing on the proposed plan during this period. The plan subsequently submitted to the governing body of the county for adoption shall be accompanied by a document containing written responses to substantive comments made during the comment period.
  • The governing body of the county shall adopt a plan within 60 days from the end of the public comment period. Within 10 days of adoption, the plan shall be submitted to the Agency for review.
  • Each county waste management plan shall be updated and reviewed every 5 years, and any necessary or appropriate revisions shall be submitted to the Agency for review and comment.

Accordingly, the following timeline is planned for the approval process:

  • August 30, 2017: Present Solid Waste Plan to McLean County Solid Waste Technical Committee for review and approval.
  • September 7, 2017: Present Solid Waste Plan to McLean County Land Use Committee as an informational item.
  • October 4, 2017: Present to the McLean County Regional Planning Commission for review and comment.
  • October 5, 2017: McLean County Land Use Committee reviews Solid Waste Plan, begins 90-day public comment period. Post Solid Waste Plan to McLean County Website, Ecology Action Center website, and provide hard copies for review in McLean County Clerk’s office. Distribute to McLean County municipalities outside Bloomington-Normal for review and comment.
  • October 9, 2017: Present to the Bloomington City Council for review and comment.
  • October 16, 2017: Present to Normal Town Council for review and comment.
  • December 7, 2017: Mclean County Land Use Committee holds public hearing on Solid Waste Plan.
  • January 4, 2018: McLean County Land Use Committee concludes public comment period on Solid Waste Plan. Ecology Action Center provides response to substantive comments on plan. McLean County Land Use Committee considers plan for approval.
  • January 15, 2018: Normal Town Council considers Solid Waste Plan for approval.
  • January 16, 2018: McLean County Board considers Solid Waste Plan for approval.
  • January 22, 2018: Bloomington City Council considers Solid Waste Plan for approval.
  • January 31, 2018: Solid Waste Plan submitted to Illinois EPA.

The proposed plan is available for download as a pdf or is available in hard copy form upon request from the Ecology Action Center or the McLean County Clerk’s office.  Written comments about the plan may be submitted at the McLean County Clerk’s office through January 4, 2018.

Proposed 2017 Twenty-year Materials Recovery and Resource Conservation  Plan for McLean County, City of Bloomington, and Town of Normal, Illinois (pdf)

 

Water and Sanitation in the 21st Century: A Human Rights Perspective on Domestic and International Challenges

Inga Winkler, Columbia University

Water challenges are increasingly acknowledged. We read about water scarcity, water conflicts and the looming potential of water wars. However, the world is not running out of water, and there is more than enough water to meet everyone’s basic needs. The question of scarcity is largely a question of social, economic and political drivers and priority-setting in allocation. The talk will therefore shift the focus by addressing some of the issues that are usually neglected: the sanitation crisis and the lack of access to water and sanitation not only abroad, but in marginalized communities in the United States. The United Nations officially recognized the human rights to water and sanitation in 2010, and the talk will explore what the human rights framework can offer to address the existing challenges.

Breaking Down Barriers to Energy Efficiency

Do you want to save energy and money but aren’t sure how to start or where to direct your efforts? Want to learn more about public sector energy efficiency programs? Need help figuring out how to finance an energy efficiency project? Attend “Breaking Down Barriers to Energy Efficiency,” a SEDAC workshop, on behalf of Ameren Illinois, ComEd, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas. Uncover strategies and tools to advance your energy efficiency projects. We’ll discuss how to overcome these challenges and give you a chance to interact with experts in the field. Topics include public sector energy efficiency programs, SEDAC services, financing energy efficiency, and EPA resources. Lunch will be served.

Sept. 20th, 11:30-2 pm; Room 409
Town of Normal City Hall
11 Uptown Circle, Normal, Illinois 61761