The Illinois Green Business Association is hiring

The Illinois Green Business Association is currently looking for talented, business and sustainability minded individuals to fill the position of Certification Manager. The Certification Manager is a new position for the IGBA that would focus on working with businesses, standards, and consulting/certification services for the IGBA Green Business Certification Program. Read the full description (PDF)

IGBA will be conducting a search between the months of November and December, with an intent to hire in the first quarter of 2013.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the position further, please send your resume and/or contact Anthony Santarelli at (217)531-2179 or via email at [email protected]

Season’s Greenings from the Ecology Action Center

As the holiday season is in full swing, many may be “dreaming of a white Christmas”; however a traditional holiday celebration can also be very green.  Taking the time to reduce waste, save energy, and conserve resources is a gift not only to current but also future generations.


  • Illinois law now requires residents to recycle most consumer electronics – your trash collector will not accept them for disposal in the landfill.  McLean County residents (but not businesses) can recycle them at one of many locations listed at our website.  Three local locations accept all consumer electronics with no fees or restrictions for any items – the Habitat For Humanity ReStore at 1402 W Washington in Bloomington, the Home Sweet Home Ministries Warehouse at 1704 W. Washington in Bloomington, or the Normal Public Works Garage at 1301 Warriner Street.
  • If your old holiday lights are no longer working, recycle them along with worn out extension cords at the same locations listed above.
  • Most gift wrap is recyclable except plastic wraps or metallic papers.  In addition, all cardboard and paperboard packaging is also recyclable.  If you do not have curbside recycling where you live, you may utilize the Town of Normal’s drop-off locations.
  • Better yet, save both money and resources by avoiding commercial gift wrap and use the funny pages of the newspaper instead or reusable gift bags.  You can even make your own simple gift bags with remnants of any fabric and a few quick stitches with a sewing machine.
  • Instead of more “stuff”, consider giving non-material gifts such as an experience or time together.  Whether it is taking someone out to a concert, a hike together at Sugar Grove or the Merwin Preserve, or a membership supporting the work of a local nonprofit, you can show people you care while not generating unneeded stuff.


  • Upgrade to LED Holiday lights.  LED lights can save up to 70% of the energy over traditional incandescent light strands, can last 10 times longer, and are cool to the touch so they present less of a fire hazard.  Using LED lights will reduce your energy usage, save you money, and decrease pollution from electricity generation.
  • Weatherize your home to save energy.  Simple window insulations kits are inexpensive and can significantly reduce drafts.
  • Install an inexpensive programmable thermostat and set it to turn your heat down low at night while you are asleep or away from home during the workday.
  • Put your holiday lights on a timer to avoid wasting energy during the day or when you are not at home.


  • To reduce storm water runoff pollution which contaminates our local water supplies, avoid using salt on your sidewalk and driveway when possible, shoveling instead before snow hardens and becomes slippery.


In most cases a real Christmas tree wins out over an artificial on multiple points.

  • A real tree is renewable resource that is 100% compostable as opposed to an artificial tree which is normally made from petroleum products and is not recyclable anywhere.
  • Real trees normally have a smaller carbon footprint due to being a natural product and domestic origin.  Artificial trees may be produced overseas.
  • A good choice would be a locally-harvested real tree, ideally one that has not been sprayed with any pesticides.
  • Of course, the best option yet is using what you’ve got.  Still using an artificial tree you bought in the 80’s?  Way to go!


  • Find some great gifts that help support environmental education at the Ecology Action Center including rain barrels, reusable gift wrap, and more!

Find more ways to green the holidays and everyday at


Holiday Family Nature Exploration Day

Sugar Grove Nature Center invites you to take time out during the busy holiday season to relax and enjoy the nature in Funks Grove. The Nature Center will be decked out for the holidays and the chilly winter ahead. Visit the wildlife viewing room to watch the birds dine on our buffet of bird seed, suet, and other tasty treats. Take a winter nature walk at 11:00 a.m., and then warm up with some hot chocolate. See what was left in our critters’ stocking for them to eat at 1:00 p.m. A holiday make-and-take craft will be available all day.

Boys and girls of all ages are invited to write their letters to Santa and drop them off in a special mailbox located along our Imagination Grove trail. The critters of Funks Grove will then promptly deliver them. Be sure to pick up some food to offer the animals as a “thank you.” Even if you are unable to attend Family Nature Exploration Day, the animals will be accepting and delivering Letters to Santa up until Christmas Even from dawn until dusk, even when the Nature Center isn’t open. Make this one of your Christmas traditions!

Whatever you do this winter, remember to enjoy the season for is unique gifts.
And, thank you for being a friend of Sugar Grove Nature Center.

Green Top Coop Grocery Seeks Project/Outreach Manager

The Project/Outreach Manager will be a half-time contract position reporting to the Green Top Grocery Cooperative Interim Board. Primary responsibility will be to coordinate planning and execution of the co-op development process and to maintain momentum needed to make demonstrable progress toward store opening. Because this is a half-time position, the Project Manager will need to make use of the time and skills available from interim board members, owners, and other volunteers to complete project activities.

Candidates for this position must have excellent management and team-building skills to coordinate with the Interim Board, future permanent Green Top Board, future General Manager, working committees, as well as co-op owners, prospective owners, stakeholders, and community.

The contract will be for one year with the possibility of extension and full-time employment. Salary for this position is $20 per hour.

Full details at 

What is Green Top?

GREEN TOP GROCERY is a new cooperative grocery store being organized in Bloomington-Normal. In many ways, a co-op grocery store is just like any other grocery store—it carries all of the products and offers all of the services found in the typical grocery store. However, there is one big difference: COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP.  The GREEN TOP co-op grocery store will be voluntarily owned and controlled by the people who use it: our owners, who purchase equity shares in the co-op. It will be operated for the benefit of the owners, to meet their mutual needs and values.

Green Jobs advocate Van Jones to speak at Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner


photo of Van JonesA look at the greening of the U.S. economy will be the topic of the Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner.

Van Jones, advocate of green jobs and former advisor to the White House, will presentReBuild the Dream at 5 p.m., Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in the Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center.

Reservations are required. Seats are $15 for students and $35 for nonstudents. Cocktails will be at 5 p.m. with dinner at 6 p.m. A cash bar will be available. Reservations can be made by calling (309) 438-8790.

The event, which is part of the 2012 Speaker Series, is sponsored by Office of the President and the Illinois State University NAACP Student Chapter.

A Yale-educated attorney, Jones has written two New York Times bestselling books – The Green Collar Economy, the definitive book on green jobs, and ReBuild the Dream, a roadmap for progressives in 2012 and beyond. He is the founder and president of ReBuild the Dream, a platform for bottom-up, people-powered innovations to help fix the U.S. economy.

Jones has a 20-year track record as a successful, innovative and award-winning social entrepreneur. He is the cofounder of three other thriving nonprofit organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and Green For All.

A former advisor to the White House and President Barack Obama, Jones helped run the interagency process that oversaw $80 billion in green energy recovery spending.

The Speaker Series of Illinois State University seeks to bring innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus with the aim of providing the community with a platform to foster dialogue, cultivate enriching ideas and continue an appreciation of learning as an active and lifelong process.

If you need special accommodations to fully participate in these programs/events, please contact Julie Barnhill, Presidential and Trustee Events, at (309) 438-8790. Please allow sufficient time to arrange accommodations.

Normal Gadgets Accepting Cell Phone Donations for Neville House and Cell Phones for Soldiers

Bloomington, IL (November 14, 2012) – Normal Gadgets, the cellphone-smartphone-tablet repair shop based in Bloomington, has teamed up with CDV/Neville House and Cell Phones For Soldiers to accept gently used and broken cell phones as donations. Normal Gadgets is asking Bloomington/Normal residents to help troops to call home and those assisted by the Neville House to have accessible cell phones for 911 emergency calls. By donating to Normal Gadgets, Twin City residents can provide safe accessible phones for those in need and for troops that want the precious connection to loved ones back home.
Beginning today, residents can donate their phones to Normal Gadgets located at:

Normal Gadgets
2103 North Veterans Parkway
Suite 112
Bloomington, IL 61704

“A 911 cell phone can mean the moments between life and death in a violent relationship. A soldier far away has a small sense of being home when in contact with family and friends as they are deployed away,” said Terry Ballantini from Normal Gadgets. “Understanding that Normal Gadgets is in a unique position in being able to clean and repair donated cell phones, allows us the compassion to fix them up and get them to those in need.”
Phones and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and responsibly recycled to reclaim materials.

For more information, please visit

 Full Press Release (pdf)


Public Meeting on Fracking in McLean County

Come to an Illinois People’s Action Accountability Meeting with our Elected Officials. Help us ban fracking in McLean County!

More information: Public Meeting on Fracking in McLean County

Locally Funded Hazardous Waste Collection a Major Success

With a year-long effort complete, the Ecology Action Center is excited to announce the success of the first-ever locally funded Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection in McLean County. The September 29 event at the Interstate Center in Bloomington drew an unprecedented 1,951 cars carrying the wastes of nearly 3,000 area households. 161,640 pounds of hazardous waste materials were safely disposed of and prevented from entering our groundwater or surface water supplies.

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection is a critical service necessary to protect groundwater and surface water supplies from contamination. Unfortunately, in times of tight budgets, this need often goes unmet. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) traditionally has funded HHW collection events, offering assistance to a limited number of Illinois communities on an annual basis.

McLean County was fortunate to be the recipient of HHW funding for five years in a row, from 2002-2007, receiving 90% of the costs necessary to hold a HHW event. These events were well attended, drawing nearly 1600 households.

However, in recent years IEPA funding has become much more limited; in some years no funding was available at all. Nonetheless, the need for proper disposal continues. The Ecology Action Center receives more inquires about safe disposal of HHW than any other topic. But without local disposal options, much of this material is likely to be disposed of improperly, either poured down the drain or hidden in curbside trash to be dumped in the municipal solid waste landfill.

The September HHW event was the first to be funded completely by local resources; The Ecology Action Center led fundraising efforts for this private/public partnership, ultimately raising $143,079 to cover the full costs of the effort. 51% of the event funding came from McLean County, the Town of Normal, the City of Bloomington, and other McLean County municipalities. Contributions from individuals or families raised another 26% while sponsorships and contributions from businesses raised 11%. Finally, the We Care Twin Cities Half Marathon raised 9% of the needed funding for the event.

While a large turnout was anticipated and the EAC worked to take all possible steps to prevent long wait times, the demand ultimately exceeded the capacity of the event facility, resulting in long waits for many residents. Working closely with Bloomington Police, the EAC was able to bring all waiting vehicles off the street and onto the facility property before closing the event, 45 minutes after the scheduled ending time. While no one was denied entry, many could not wait out the long lines and were not able to dispose of their materials. Some people, hearing about the long lines, decided not to attend.

The need for more frequent HHW Collection is now clearly established as this is the only means to reduce wait times and better accommodate the needs of more residents while still providing the service in a cost-effective manner. Building on the success of the recent event, the EAC is now adjusting its focus to work towards more regular HHW collection.

Full Press Release (pdf)