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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Sustainable Gourmet [sold out]

 

The Ecology Action Center invites you to attend the thirteenth annual Sustainable Gourmet  on Thursday, November 8, at 5:30 p.m. This year’s event will feature artisanal local foods hors d’oeuvres prepared by the culinary team at Reality Bites, a sampling of sustainably produced wine from Uptown Normal’s Stave Wine Bar, and locally crafted beer from Keg Grove Brewing Company and Destihl. Destihl is providing a one-of-a-kind brew as one of their selections and Keg Grove’s offerings will include a unique new brew, “Forage”, made with locally collected wild ingredients, brewed specially for this event.

This popular fundraiser for the EAC includes a silent auction with fabulous items from local businesses, organizations, and individuals.

This year attendees also have the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to experience an evening of fun for four at the new secret supper club by Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group. The winner will enjoy elevated snacks, shared platters, and chef-driven libations with three of their friends at Bakery & Pickle!

Proceeds from this fundraiser benefit the Ecology Action Center and its important environmental sustainability efforts in Bloomington-Normal and McLean County.  As part of this event, the Ecology Action Center will announce the 2018 recipients of the annual McLean County Green Awards, recognizing efforts to improve our local environment.

Sustainable Gourmet will be held at Reality on Monroe at 111 E. Monroe Street in Bloomington. Reality on Monroe is the beautifully renovated event space for Reality Bites.  Tickets must be purchased in advance; the ticket sales deadline is November 2 or when tickets are sold out, whichever comes first. This event has sold out the past five 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 sponsored by Straight Up Solar, Dr. Matt Fraker & Dr. Sherri Thornton, Stave Wine Bar, Keg Grove Brewing Company, Reality on Monroe, and WGLT.

Sorry!  We’re sold out!  Tickets are not available at the event.  Please join us next year!

 

 

Rain Barrel Workshop

Join us at our upcoming rain barrel workshop on Thursday, October 18, 2018 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, 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

*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 October 31, 2018, to decide whether to get solar through the program.

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

 

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.

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 October, 31 2018, to decide whether to get solar through the program.

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

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.

Employment Opportunity: Part-time Administrative Assistant

Administrative Assistant

The Ecology Action Center is seeking a part-time Administrative Assistant. This position has responsibilities including financial, clerical, publications management, and correspondence.  Position is contingent upon program funding.

Major Responsibilities

  • Maintains financial records including posting transactions
  • Prepares correspondence and manages filing
  • Manages print and electronic communications including newsletters, web content, quarterly and annual program reports, board reports, etc.
  • Planning and scheduling of meetings
  • Assists with communications on behalf of Executive Director

Specific duties

  • Pay vendor invoices in a timely manner
  • Pay debts as they come due for payment
  • Issue invoices to customers
  • Ensure that receivables are collected promptly
  • Record cash receipts and make bank deposits
  • Download bank statements monthly in a timely fashion for reconciliation prior to board meetings
  • Board meeting packet preparation
  • Maintain the petty cash fund
  • Assemble information for external auditors for the annual audit
  • Maintain an orderly accounting filing system
  • Provide clerical and administrative support to management as requested
  • Track donations, event sponsorships, and other contributions and provide donation acknowledgement correspondence with appropriate IRS approved wording for tax-deductions
  • Monitor office supply levels and reorder as necessary
  • Coordinate content for regular newsletters and other print and web publications; design, edit, and publish final materials
  • Help staff the office, assist visitors
  • Other duties as assigned

Qualifications

  • Minimum of an Associate’s degree or equivalent business experience, as well as a knowledge of bookkeeping and generally accepted accounting principles. Bachelor’s degree preferred.
  • Must have be experienced with QuickBooks accounting software and Microsoft Office.
  • Strong communication skills required, both written and verbal
  • Experience and high degree of comfort with web and computer technologies–spreadsheets, WordPress, databases, CRM, Adobe design software
  • Ability to lift up to 25 pounds

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 Friday, October 5 2018 to be considered for the initial round of interviews.