Successful Public-Private HHW Partnership Continues–Donations Critical For Fall 2015 Collection Event
While the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has announced that no state-funded HHW collection events will be held in the spring of 2015, McLean County residents will be able to plan for locally funded Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection events in 2015 and 2017. Under a recent multi-year agreement, the Town of Normal, City of Bloomington, and McLean County will provide a significant portion of the funding for HHW collection events in the fall of 2015 and fall 2017. However, private contributions are critical to provide the remainder of the funding needed.
The Ecology Action Center is now soliciting donations to the McLean County HHW Fund for a fall 2015 Household Hazardous Waste Collection for McLean County residents. As the EAC is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, contributions to the HHW Fund may be considered tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. Donations may be made online or by mail.
As the designated solid waste agency for the local community, the EAC has traditionally coordinated HHW collection with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) with annual events funded by the state from 2003 through 2007. State funding became less reliable with the economic recession; despite an active application with the Illinois EPA, McLean County did not receive a state-sponsored event for six years after 2007.
In 2012, the EAC held a HHW collection for Bloomington-Normal and McLean County residents, funded entirely by local contributions. The EAC’s successful year-long HHW fundraising campaign resulted in $160,000 in public and private contributions including in-kind services; this unique funding strategy has resulted in multiple awards and recognition for the EAC, both locally and state-wide.
The EAC eventually was granted an IEPA-sponsored HHW collection in 2013. The significant turnout at both the 2012 and 2013 collections demonstrated the need for more regular and dependable HHW services to better meet the needs of McLean County residents. The new inter-governmental agreement to provide for 2015 and 2017 HHW events addresses that need. Because of funding limitations, participation in these collections will be limited to McLean County residents. Illinois law mandates that only residential Household Hazardous Waste may be collected; business or industrial waste cannot be accepted.
Household Hazardous Wastes are materials and chemicals that are toxic, flammable, corrosive, reactive, or explosive. Examples include oil paints, automotive fluids, strong household cleaners, and mercury thermometers. They typically cannot be safely recycled or disposed of without a special HHW center or collection event. These wastes can be a serious threat to water supplies and our local environment if they are improperly discarded with nonhazardous trash (put into a municipal solid waste landfill), dumped down the drain, or illegally dumped elsewhere.