Hello EAC Action News Readers!

Welcome to another edition of the EAC Action News, your local source for information on environmental happenings. Please feel free to submit feedback or article suggestions to us at eac@ecologyactioncenter.org.

Join us for Green Drinks - Tuesday February 2, 5:30 p.m. at Medici in Uptown Normal

ImageThe Ecology Action Center is excited to bring Green Drinks to Bloomington-Normal! Green Drinks is an informal, social networking group for people working on or interested in environmental issues. Green Drinks groups meet in over 500 cities across the globe. The groups have no political affiliation and no agenda. They serve as a forum for green professionals and other interested community members to meet, socialize and share ideas. Green Drinks is set for February 2, 2010 from 5:30 to 7:30 at Medici in Normal. Join the conversation!

RSVP to this event on Facebook (optional)

Reduce your generation of household hazardous wastes: homemade green cleaners and Yard Smart

While we all appreciate the opportunity to safely dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW) at occasional collection events sponsored by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), it has been a few years since the IEPA has chosen McLean County for such an event. Unfortunately, the current obstacle right now is money. Last year the Illinois General Assembly authorized using the funds normally designated for such HHW collection events for other purposes. While the Ecology Action Center has an application on file with the IEPA for a McLean County collection, it is possible that state funding might not be restored in time for spring 2010 events.

Meanwhile, as a community we need to start considering alternatives. To start with, how can we reduce our generation of wastes that will require disposal as hazardous wastes? One answer is our Yard Smart program. This program seeks to protect our local environment and especially our water supplies by reducing the amount of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides used on our lawns, landscaping, and gardens. By focusing on alternatives such as drought-resistant and pest-resistant native plants in landscaping combined with natural amendments such as compost, we can significantly reduce our use and accumulation of synthetic yard chemicals which both contribute to stormwater runoff pollution as well as present problems for safe disposal if not completely used. For more information on Yard Smart, check out www.ecologyactioncenter.org/yard-smart/

Another approach is using green cleaners in your home instead of commerically available cleaning supplies. While green cleaners are increasingly common at the grocery store and hardware store, it is very easy and inexpensive to make your own healthy non-toxic cleaners from every day products. These cleaning tips taken from www.care2.com/greenliving/make-your-own-non-toxic-cleaning-kit.html#.

Try these for your own household cleaning:

Window Cleaner
1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water
Spray bottle
Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.

All Purpose Spray Cleaner
1/2 teaspoon washing soda
a dab of liquid soap
2 cups hot tap water
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

Furniture Polish
1/2 teaspoon oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax)
1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.

Tea Tree Treasure - Anti-Mildew/Mold
Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note that the smell of tea tree oil is very strong, but it will dissipate in a few days.
2 teaspoons tea tree oil
2 cups water
Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse. Makes two cups.

Vinegar Spray
Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82 percent of mold. Pour some white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle, spray on the moldy area, and let set without rinsing if you can put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.

Creamy Soft Scrubber
Baking soda
Washing soda
White distilled vinegar
a good liquid soap or detergent
Tea tree oil
6 clean spray bottles
2 glass jars
Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave grit. Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.

The Illinois Sustainable Living and Wellness Expo is seeking Exhibitors and Workshop Presenters
On Saturday, April 10, join the many diverse exhibitors and presenters celebrating different dimensions of Living Well and Living Green at the 2010 Illinois Sustainable Living & Wellness Expo. This interactive event invites its guests to participate in Creating Healthy Communities by blending ideas for green alternatives and embracing the many services that promote health and healing. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of this exciting event!

Exhibitor and presenter spaces are limited; application deadline is March 13, 2010.
Click here for an invitation to participate as an exhibitor or presenter

February 8, 2010: 7th Annual Composting Symposium: Backyard, Business, and Beyond

Keynote Speaker: Ken Dunn, The Resource Center, "Composting for a Sustainable Future"
February 8, 2010, 12:30-6:30pm
University of Illinois Extension Sangamon-Menard Unit, Springfield

This is the seventh composting symposium to be held in Illinois. The symposium is a forum for sharing composting, stimulating the composting market, and bringing composters, educators and business people together so that everyone can benefit from learning about this excellent organic soil amendment.
The symposium is will provide an excellent opportunity to learn about composting organic materials from national and local experts. The symposium will cover topics ranging from backyard composting for beginners to large scale projects for municipalities or farms. The symposium is open to the public. Educators, farmers, gardeners, and entrepreneurs are all encouraged to attend, there will be something for everyone.
Following the sysmposium there will be a vermiculture build you own bin (BYOB) workshop where participants will have the opportunity to learn more about vermiculture and build their own bin suitable for the home or office.

Sponsored by a partnership of: Illinois Stewardship Alliance, University of Illinois Extension, City of Springfield’s Division of Waste and Recycling, North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and Illinois Department of Agriculture.

For more information on the symposium and how to register, click here.

Volunteer with Illinois RiverWatch to help monitor our local waterways!
RiverWatch certified volunteers, referred to as Citizen Scientists, collect high quality scientific data that will subsequently be used by professionals and the general public to gauge long-term trends in stream health, develop land management strategies, identify potentially degraded waters, and assess the effectiveness of restoration projects. Through monitoring, Citizen Scientists obtain a greater understanding and appreciation for our rivers and streams and serve as advocates for the protection of those resources.

Your help is needed to collect data on McLean County waterways. To get involved, attend a RiverWatch Citizen Scientist training session. Click the link below to see the current schedule or contact:

Vera Bojic
Program Coordinator
Illinois RiverWatch Network
National Great Rivers Research and Education Center
Lewis and Clark Community College
5800 Godfrey Road
Godfrey, IL 62035
Phone: 618-468-4870
Fax: 618-468-7221
Email: vbojic@lc.edu
Click here to for upcoming Illinois RiverWatch training dates.

As always, we look forward to seeing you at the Ecology Action Center! Please stop by anytime Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or call us at 309-454-3169 for information on our latest programs and events or to get answers to questions on recycling, household hazardous waste, clean water, and more!

The Ecology Action Center is a not-for-profit walk-in information and environmental education center with a mission to inspire and assist residents of McLean County in creating, strengthening and preserving a healthy environment.


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