Ecology Action Center collected nearly 162,000 pounds of hazardous at a Sept. 29 event at Interstate Center in Bloomington (Photo courtesy Facebook/Ecology Action Center)
By Eric Stock
BLOOMINGTON - McLean County residents brought their waste, and their cash, to help make an Ecology Action Center event a success.
Now, the non-profit group is hoping make the household hazardous waste collection a more regular event.
The EAC reports the Sept. 29 event at Interstate Center brought a record 1,951 cars carrying the hazardous waste of nearly 3,000 households. A total of 161,640 pounds of hazardous waste was disposed of safely.
"We are talking to our partners and looking at different ways of possible funding to make it more regular, whether it be every year or every couple of years," director Michael Brown said.
The waste collection was last held in McLean County in 2007, before the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency pulled funding.
Ecology Action Center issued a public funding plea in conjunction with the collection to cover its cost, which was projected to reach $150,000. Brown said EAC was able to break even during the event, collecting $143,000 through sponsorships and donations.
"Everybody new this was important and everybody really did what it took to help us make this happen," Brown said.
Brown acknowledged while support for the project was strong, it would be difficult to sustain as an annual event.
Lines of vehicles snaked all the way to Market Street for a time as residents waited for several hours in some cases to drop off waste that had collected in their homes for years. Brown said some people decided not to wait out the long lines and some might have decided not to attend to avoid the wait.
Fifty-one percent of funding came from Bloomington, Normal, McLean County and other municipalities. The first-annual We Care Twin Cities Half-Marathon raised about $13,000.
Eric Stock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.