We Can Do It Again—Another Public-Private Sponsored HHW Collection
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that no funding is available from the State of Illinois for Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collections in Illinois in the first half of 2017. However, the Ecology Action Center is pleased to announce the launch of a renewed fundraising effort to provide for a fall 2017 McLean County Household Hazardous Waste Collection. While local government partners including the City of Bloomington, Town of Normal, and McLean County are providing some of the funding required for the tentative HHW collection, the remaining funding will need to come from private contributions and sponsorships from the local community. Participation 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.
HHW is any material or chemical that is toxic, flammable, corrosive, explosive, or reactive. McLean County residents once again will have the opportunity to safely dispose of pesticides, oil-based paints, mercury thermometers, old gasoline, cleaning products, insecticides, lawn chemicals, and other hazardous materials. When improperly tossed in the trash, dumped down a drain, or illegally discarded elsewhere, these waste products pollute our water supplies, compromise our drinking water, and threaten our health.
In the past, state-sponsored HHW collections were a legal, safe and reliable way of disposing of HHW in Illinois. Mclean County benefited from annual collection events from 2003 to 2007, with most of the costs paid by the IEPA. Unfortunately, budget cutbacks resulted in the loss of funding for this program for five years. In 2012, EAC decided that the community needed to take matters into its own hands and spearheaded a successful public/private partnership to raise the funds necessary for a McLean County HHW collection. In 2013, EAC received funding from the IEPA for a HHW collection.
The significant turnout at the 2012, 2013, and 2015 HHW events showed that McLean County residents need them on a more regular basis. But a one-day HHW collection is expensive and state funding is no longer reliable. Under a multi-year agreement, the City of Bloomington, the Town of Normal, and McLean County will provide a significant portion of the funding for the HHW collection in 2017. Private contributions are necessary for the remaining portion, so the HHW collection will be possible only with strong community support.
The EAC is now soliciting donations to the McLean County HHW Fund for the fall 2017 HHW collection. The one-day event will cost an estimated $170,000. The EAC is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization; contributions to the HHW McLean Fund are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. Donations may made online or by mail.