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HOW CAN I RECYCLE THAT?
ONE WOMAN’S MISSION : RECYCLING ITEMS – OLD BOOTS, A BROKEN MICROWAVE, PL ASTIC BAGS – THAT WOULD OTHERWISE END UP IN A L ANDFILL BY
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DURING THIS YEAR’S SPRING CLEANING, I hauled out all the things that I haven’t disposed of because I felt guilty about tossing them in the garbage: a microwave that caught on fire, old winter boots, a mountain of accumulated plastic shopping bags, and a 1999 IBM ThinkPad. If I got creative, I wondered, was there a way to recycle these items?
MISSION: WINTER BOOTS I didn’t have a lot of hope for my winter boots. Surely, I thought, no one would accept them for recycling. But a friend mentioned that Hope Gospel Mission Bargain Center accepts textiles, even those too beat up to wear, so I thought I might as well give it a try. Bud Drexel, business manager at Hope Gospel, met me at the donation center, which is attached to the bargain center on Moholt Drive in Eau Claire. Everything that comes through the door at the donation center is sorted into J O E L P E A RI S H the different departments sold in the thrift store next door – clothes, shoes, housewares, basically almost everything. “If you ever need golf balls, recycled through First Choice. Furniture is donated I recommend never buying them new,” he said, to Chippewa Valley Technical College to be used gesturing towards a barrel of barely used golf balls. for firefighter training. Scrap metal, cardboard, and “We have so many golf balls.” other recyclables are directed to Hope Gospel’s program the right facilities. But what about supports their drug and alcohol clothes and shoes? addiction rehabilitation efforts, Unsaleable clothes are piled and many of the people working into a baler, which squashes them in the donation center are into 1,100-pound cubes. The baler residents in the program. When has processed 10 million pounds they graduate, Hope Gospel gives of recycled clothes since Hope them what they need to restart Gospel bought it, but. it finally their lives, whether that be broke a rod last year, screeching helping them find a place to live the process to a halt. “It was a mad or giving them one of the donated dash to repair it,” Drexel laughed. cars to get to their jobs. “But imagine if we didn’t recycle Hope Gospel won’t take the clothes. All that would have donations that are health risks, ended up in a landfill.” like mattresses, but he said they’ll Those textile cubes are then sold consider taking almost anything to graders. The grader determines else. Between 30 and 40 percent whether the clothes are wearable – -Bud Drexel, of the donations they receive end in which case, they are often shipped Hope Gospel Mission Bargain Center up being sold in the store. Every overseas to be sold – or whether they week, they’re putting 5,500 new might be appropriate for rags or items of clothing on the floor. shredded for insulation. “It’s one of the reasons we have so many repeat Shoes, including my winter boots, are also sold customers. Our inventory on the floor is rotating to graders – along with belts, backpacks, caps, and constantly, so there’s always something new.” other wearable items – to be sold overseas. “If Those things that aren’t sold in the store are something can’t be sold, it’s recycled,” Drexel said. processed for disposal or recycling. Electronics are “If it can’t be recycled, I’ll hold on to it until I can
“IF YOU EVER NEED GOLF BALLS, I RECOMMEND NEVER BUYING THEM NEW. WE HAVE SO MANY GOLF BALLS.”
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find a vendor to recycle it.” He noted that recycling often has costs the average person isn’t aware of – such as labor to sort the items and the cost of transportation – but it would be more expensive to throw those items out; Hope Gospel pays garbage haulers just as households do, and every time the 40-cubic yard containers behind the store are emptied, that costs money. Drexel says they try to throw things away as little as possible, but it still adds up. “We’re just happy these clothes don’t end up in a landfill.” He patted one of the cubes of clothes. “And it helps us pay the garbage bill, which can get very large.” Knowing that one of the rules for recycling in our curbside bins is “when in doubt, throw it out,” I asked him if the same rule applied to donations to Hope Gospel; would he prefer people only donate items they were pretty sure weren’t going to end up in one of Hope Gospel’s 40-yard garbage bins? “You know, we have to figure out what to do with every single item that comes through here,” he said. “But I ask the people at the donation center to say ‘yes’ to donations as much as possible, regardless of condition. We’ll determine if something is salvageable or recyclable. We have some very trained eyes. The ladies working in the front have been here for 12 years, so they can tell very easily when something can be resold or recycled.” I left my boots behind, confident that the professionals were on the job.
MISSION: PLASTIC BAGS
Following up on the clue from Drexel about where they send their e-waste, I brought my busted microwave and 1999 ThinkPad to First Choice Recycling and dropped them off in a large receiving bay where I met Ralph Hutchens, partner with First Choice, 525 Park Ridge Court, Eau Claire. The founder, Greg Du Voll, had gotten the idea for First Choice after reading a newspaper article stating that electronic waste was going to be the next tsunami of trash in America. He opened the doors to First Choice in 2002, accepting anything with a plug. About 10 million pounds of waste go through First Choice each year, with the biggest customer being municipalities. When people dump e-waste illegally, it’s counties and cities that pay to have that cleaned up; that cost gets passed down to taxpayers. Wisconsin Act 50, which was passed in 2009, makes it illegal for electronic waste to be disposed of in landfills. Not only does this sort of waste not decompose, but it also contains pollutants that we wouldn’t want to leech into the groundwater. However, a recent Department of Natural Resources study found that 50 percent of Wisconsinites don’t know that these items have to be recycled. “We only see about 10 to 15 percent of the e-waste in the county,” Hutchens said. “The rest might be going to a landfill.” When the DNR asked consumers what they do with their e-waste, the most common answer was that they store it. “People either keep their e-waste in their basement or the barn,” Hutchens said. “Guilty!” I gestured to my 20-year-old laptop. “I can’t tell you how many times we’ve moved homes with that laptop, just because we didn’t know what to do with it.” (Actually, I did know: six times.) I explained to Hutchens that we were concerned about sensitive data in the laptop. He said they shred the hard drives, and pulled out a box of mangled metal to show me what would happen with ours. “Nothing is ever going to be gotten off these drives,” he said. Then he walked me through the facility to show me what would happen with the rest of my old stuff. When e-waste arrives at the facility, they test to see if it’s working. If something works, they’ll move it along to vendors who can give that item a second life. He showed me a pallet of over 100 computers that will eventually end up with consumers who only need computers to do very basic tasks. “A lot of places don’t want to spend money on brand-new hardware. This gives them options. Schools, non-profits, libraries.” If something doesn’t work, First Choice will try to fix it and then donate or sell the repaired item. Failing that, they disassemble it. Any working
When I mentioned to Hutchens that my next mission was recycling plastic bags, he said, “Hmmm … plastic bags are hard.” The truth is, once I knew where to look, it couldn’t have been easier. Stores have been collecting plastic bags for years. However, those bins had been hiding in the visual white noise of everyday life, and I had never noticed them. It wasn’t until I started looking for them that I started seeing them everywhere: Festival Foods, Target, Shopko, and even my son’s elementary school. (Find a location near you at plasticfilmrecycling.org.) But what happens to those bags after they’re dropped off? According to Shari Jackson, director of film recycling for the American Chemistry Council, the largest reclaimer of recycled plastic film is Trex, which makes eco-friendly composite decks. Trex collects bags from bins all over the country. The plastic is then chopped up and combined with reclaimed sawdust, then heated until the mixture is pliable. Boards are pressed from that mixture, cut to size, inspected, and shipped out. Trex and other manufacturers aren’t the only organizations benefiting from plastic bag recycling; local ones are, too. Reach Inc., a private nonprofit, provides opportunities for developmentally disabled adults that promote self-determination and participation in the community. Joe Frank, production supervisor at Reach, said they were approached by the Eau Claire county recycling coordinator for help to fill a need in the community: collecting and sorting plastic bags and film. “We felt it was a good fit for us. Our members would be able to do the work and be paid. We are doing a great service for our community and our environment. Also, by collecting the plastic from other community businesses, we are building relationships with them that could open the door to more work and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities in the Chippewa Valley,” Frank said. Reach collects plastic from organizations or individuals. Members check each piece of plastic and remove contaminates like labels, paper, and tape. They also separate out clear pallet wrap, which has a higher resale value. Then the plastic is baled in 1,100-pound batches and sold to Trex. Trex and other manufactures can be a little picky about the type of plastic they accept. They take plastic bags, plastic film, and dry #2HDPE and #4 LDPE plastic film (like produce bags at the grocery store). The plastic has to be the stretchy – not crinkly – kind. Also, frozen food plastic bags have been specially coated, which makes them strict no-go for recycling. Many kinds of plastic now have a symbol printing on them that say whether they are recyclable. It’s also important to only recycle bags that are already clean and dry. Frank noted that wet and dirty plastic will go rancid while sitting in a warehouse for months, so they dispose of those bags in the sorting process. This is one reason this type of plastic isn’t available for curbside pickup; other recyclables, rain, and snow may contaminate the plastic. The other big reason, according to Jackson, is most material recovery facilities that process our curbside recycling simply are not designed to process plastic bags, wraps, and film. The plastic gets caught in the sorting equipment, damaging the machines and causing downtime at the facilities. “Recycling plastic bags is important for both our wildlife and our earth,” Frank said. “Keeping it out of the landfills prevents nearby wildlife from being hurt or killed by ingesting it. Plastic film is made from natural gas and petroleum. Recycling it gives these nonrenewable resources a second life.” I dropped off my plastic bags the next time I bought some groceries, glad to keep these items from ending up floating in the Pacific Ocean or being eaten by a bear.
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parts are sent along to refurbishers who assemble working computers, appliances, etc., from a collection of working parts from many different sources. For example, my microwave might only need a new motor. With a little spit and polish, it could have a second life as a refurbished product. The laptop, however … that thing is toast. When something can no longer be salvaged at all, they direct the parts to recyclers. The metal hard drive will be melted down, the plastic will be recycled. Cords are snipped and granulated into tiny pellets of plastic and copper. He showed me a barrel filled with tiny copper nuggets that looked like metal sand. Everything that can be recycled, is. A company in Spain even collects glass screens from TVs and turns them into porcelain tiles. First Choice only charges customers when items would have to be processed elsewhere. Tube TVs, for example, contain lead and cadmium, which would be too dangerous for First Choice to process in-house. All this effort is crucial for First Choice to maintain their R2 (”Responsible Recycling”) certification, which is an industry standard that only 500 companies in the country have. If something can be reused, they find a way to reuse it. If not, it is recycled responsibly. “It’s a real benefit to Eau Claire to have this sort of company in our own backyard,” he said.
TYPES OF PLASTIC FILM THAT CAN BE RECYCLED THROUGH REACH OR AT DROP-OFF LOCATIONS: • Case, shrink, and pallet (stretch film) wraps • Film and bags designed to protect or transport merchandise • Furniture wraps • Industrial use film and bags designed to protect or transport materials • Bubble wrap and air packets (shipping) • Grocery, retail, and newspaper bags • Dry cleaning bags • Consumer product packaging (bathroom tissue, paper towels and bulk item case wrap) • Zipper-type food storage bags and bread bags GO GREEN 2018
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ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE ONE REL ATIONSHIP AT A TIME, CITIZENS’ CLIMATE LOBBY FOCUSES ON BIPARTISAN APPROACH TO REDUCING CARBON EMISSIONS BY
This is a story about a group that is betting the farm on relationships: the relationships between constituents and their elected representatives in Congress, and the relationships among citizens in a democracy. It’s a story that includes a key plot element: Work across the partisan divide is critical to the success of our venture. And our venture? We’re working on national policies to address climate change, starting with a carbon tax. Some readers, I imagine, are now thinking, “Ah, so this is a story we would find filed under ‘fantasy.’ ” I invite those readers to suspend judgment for the moment. Eau Claire’s part of the story began on in July 2012 when about 20 Chippewa Valley residents gathered at Dooley’s on Water Street to hear about a new group, Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Formed in October 2007 with just a handful of people, by 2012 CCL had about 70 chapters, all working with laser focus on one goal: getting legislation for a “carbon fee and dividend” introduced and passed. This would initiate a drawdown in carbon emissions and slow the pace of future climate change, affording time for the market to respond with more sustainable directions for energy production. Several people at the meeting wanted to form a chapter, and two people volunteered to serve as organizers. Just 10 days later one of them went to Washington, D.C., for that year’s conference. In September, the chapter had its official start. Since then, the number of chapters nationwide has risen steadily – we’re now at 412 – and there is at least one in every state, though not yet one in every congressional district. Every year, more people from across the country have gathered in D.C. to listen to speakers from many pertinent fields, to hone their lobbying skills, and to meet with their elected representatives on Capitol Hill. CCL’s insistence on respectful interactions in every congressional office continues to be our guide. In challenging times, the sheer energy of being together in D.C. allows the renewal of our belief in that goal. This June, six Chippewa Valley residents were among roughly 1,300 volunteers who traveled to D.C. to write their parts in the CCL story. UW-Eau Claire student Taylor Limberg is a senior studying environmental geography. An avid camper and backpacker, her love of the outdoors is part of what brought her to the nation’s capital. “I’m worried about my future on this planet,” she says, “and worried for future generations.” One of about 200 college students attending this year’s
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Citizens Climate Lobby members gathered outside the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Rep Ron Kind. They are, from left to right, Connie Champnoise (Richland County), Taylor Limberg, Maxwell Johnson (Stevens Point), Jim Boulter, and Jim Schumacher. conference and lobby day, she reflected, needs and wishes of those who sent them “As a student, it was inspiring to see other to Washington. They welcomed the opporstudents around the country and hear tunity to talk with us. It was very much an about the amazing things they are doing exchange of ideas and information.” in their communities for CCL and other Jim Boulter, a professor of chemistry organizations. . . . There was a sense of and environmental studies at UWEC, hope within the young people there. I was in D.C. for the fifth time. What struck would love to go back and lobby again!” him most was something he heard at Taylor was already the end-of-lobby-day politically engaged but reception. “A student this was her first time shared an experilobbying with CCL. She ence from one of her realized during her lobby meetings. Faced time in D.C. That “CCL with a congressional isn’t just about advoaide who was not cating for legislation enthusiastic about our to maintain a healthy legislative proposal, climate for our Earth she listened closely – we are advocating to his concerns and for democracy through – rather than inundatbipartisan relationship ing him with data – building.” simply reflected them Jim Schumacher back to him (“What I serves on the City of hear you saying is...”). Eau Claire’s SusIn that moment, the -Taylor Limberg, tainability Advisory aide’s response to her UW-Eau Claire environmental Committee; a retired shifted; a genuine geography student vocational rehabilitaconversation ensued,
“THERE WAS A SENSE OF HOPE WITHIN THE YOUNG PEOPLE THERE. I WOULD LOVE TO GO BACK AND LOBBY AGAIN.”
tion manager, he was in D.C. as a citizen lobbyist for the second time. “I was very moved by the respectful and, at times, personal conversations we had – regardless of party affiliation,” he said, reflecting on his Capitol Hill meetings. “I was impressed by the professionalism and by the evident desire in the congressional offices to respond to the GO GREEN 2018
and it concluded with the aide committing to look further into our policy.” Retired medical social worker Sue Suechting, a founding member of the EC chapter, has lived in the Chippewa Valley for 35 years. Her lobbying is inspired in part by her Lutheran faith (“Care for people and the planet is a basis for my
faith in action,” she says) as well as by her love of the outdoors. This is Sue’s second time in D.C., and what stood out to her was “the expanding influence of CCL” that she felt within the lobby meetings. “The way we are treated by staffers in each congressional office – even with a new legislative aide – our reputation for respectful interactions seems to recognized. Our years of relationship-building are really paying off.” These stories offer just glimpses of this year’s D.C. experience. Sixty volunteers from Wisconsin are sharing their stories in Appleton and Birchwood; in Bayfield and Mt. Horeb; in Milwaukee, Stevens Point, and Hayward; in Richland, Jefferson, and Iowa counties; in Green Bay, Madison, and Racine. For the first time, all 50 states were represented this year, so stories are being told from coast to coast and beyond. All of us use our voices to be heard, in our home communities and in the nation’s capital. It is a simple act that transforms us from spectators to engaged citizens, working on behalf of a more stable future. Kate Hale Wilson, an emerita professor of English at UWEC, is co-leader of the Eau Claire Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and served as UWEC’s first campus Sustainability Fellow. She has traveled to Washington, D.C., for every CCL conference since 2012. Learn more about the Citizens’ Climate Lobby and its local chapter at citizensclimatelobby.org and facebook. com/groups/CCL.EauClaire.
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SCARED TO HIT THE ROAD PEDALING? LET’S GIVE YOU THE CONFIDENCE TO RIDE SAFELY BY
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Biking season is in full swing, and riding your bike for practical purposes like commuting to work and errand-running is a great way to go green. Of course, it’s tons of fun, too. Understanding how to navigate the streets of the Chippewa Valley while riding a bicycle can be a little confusing if you’re just getting started, but we’re here to help with a quick primer on where to ride and how use the road amongst the friendly motorists and other bikers. Let’s start with the basics. Bike laws in Wisconsin define your bike as a vehicle, so you have the same rights and responsibilities as people driving cars. So go ahead and ride your bike on the right side of the road, in the same direction as auto traffic. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation recommends you give yourself a buffer of three feet from curbs and parked cars. If there is a marked bike lane, it’s a
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good idea to stay within it, but you are allowed to use the full lane if and when it’s necessary, such as when maneuvering around a parked car, road debris, or a slower moving bicyclist. Also, several of Eau Claire’s streets are marked with “Sharrows” that indicate to drivers that people riding bikes have access to the traffic lane. One of the most common examples of when it’s necessary to take the lane when riding your bicycle is making left turns. As a person riding a bicycle making a left turn, you are allowed to move into the lane vehicle drivers use for turning left. And since people riding bikes have the same responsibilities and people driving cars, it’s important to signal your moves. For a left-hand turn, simply raise your arm to the side so it’s parallel to the road and point to the left. Just like a motorist should do, signal before making your move
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and give other road users time to take notice. For a right turn you can do the same with your right arm. You can also use your left arm, bending 90 degrees at the elbow so your hand is point up. Lastly, if you’re slowing or stopping in traffic, you can signal that as well. Do this by lowering your left hand to your side with your palm facing the traffic behind you. Remember, bicycles generally don’t have turn signals or brake lights, but you can still let other road users know your intentions. Keep this signals in mind, stay to the right, and you’ll be on your way to living a greener, healthier, and more fun lifestyle.
SINCE PEOPLE RIDING BIKES HAVE THE SAME RESPONSIBILITIES AND PEOPLE DRIVING CARS, IT’S IMPORTANT TO SIGNAL YOUR MOVES.
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SUNNY DAYS AND UV RAYS EAU CL AIRE ENERGY COOPERATIVE PROVIDES TONS OF SOL AR ENERGY, AIDED BY GRASS-CHEWING L AMBS BY
You flip on a light switch, and expect the light to turn on. It is that simple. However, do you ever wonder where that power is coming from, or how the energy crucial to your daily life is produced? Some people in the Valley don’t have to wonder or look further than their own neighborhood! The Eau Claire Energy Co-op provides energy to 11,000 customers in Eau Claire County, and do so with renewable resources. The co-op is home to a five-acre plot of land with precisely 2,816 mounted solar panels, free from shade and ready to absorb every ray during our limited sun-shine seasons. These panels replace 1,767 barrels of oil, and energize 113 homes per year. ECEC’S panels, however, are not enough to supply consistent energy to all of its customers, 24/7. Therefore, the co-op purchases all other needed product through the Dairyland Power Co-op located in La Crosse. Dairyland provides power from a diverse portfolio of sources including solar, wind, hydro, and coal. The ECEC has been around since
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1938 and serves a diverse part of the in the program simple. You can easily rural/urban community including track how much energy is being crehomes, businesses, ated through your and farms all by panels, giving you an using green energy. appreciation for the The solar panels process. located in the fiveFor now, Memacre plot are part of berSolar is sold out a community project and all panels are called MemberSolar. producing energy This program allows for existing parmembers to have a ticipants. Anyone certain amount of looking for extra their energy generinformation about ated through local MemberSolar, or panels. The proanything relative to gram has two main the cooperative can options: make a speak with a Member one-time payment or Service Representapay a monthly fee, tive, Monday through -Mary Kay Brevig, essentially buying Friday 7:30am to Eau Claire Energy Cooperative upfront or paying as 4pm. you go for however “We are always much energy prolooking to help conduction you may require. sumer members build a better life, and ECEC’s website is designed to make to save money on their electric bills,” the process of managing your account said Mary Kay Brevig, communications or learning more about what is offered manager at the co-op. A recommended
“WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING TO HELP CONSUMER MEMBERS BUILD A BETTER LIFE, AND TO SAVE MONEY ON THEIR ELECTRIC BILLS.”
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tip for saving money on your energy bills is to have a home performance evaluation completed on your property. Even if you do not use renewable energy, this will help to limit the total amount of wasted resources. Every little thing counts! The cooperative offers other community-based programs and activities open to everyone, not just those within its service territory. The Youth Ambassador Program is free for individuals in ninth-12th grade looking to have an educational experience. As a Youth Ambassador students tour local facilities, learn about renewable energy, and participate in community service events. Tours of the facility are offered to anyone who is interested in checking it out. You may get a chance to see the flock of sheep that keep the grass cut around the solar panels, courtesy of Lambalot Acres. To set up a tour call Eau Claire Energy Cooperative at 715-832-1603. More information about the Eau Claire Energy Cooperative and the Member Solar program is available at www.ecec.com.
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KEEPING HOME ENERGY COSTS DOWN: SAVING ENERGY MEANS SAVING MONEY
Whether you are a renter or a homeowner, there are easy ways for you to save money and be a little kinder to the planet in the process. I talked with Jolene Neisius, marketing and member services representative at Dunn Energy Cooperative, for advice on how to keep electric costs down. “We like to provide low-cost, no-cost ways for people to save on their electric bill,” Neisius said. The first tip is a familiar one, but it bears repeating. If you haven’t already swapped out your light bulbs for LEDs, go for it. Neisius added, “But don’t worry about closets or other lights that are on for less than one hour each day, as you likely won’t see any cost savings. Use your drapes to your advantage.” On hot, sunny days, keep your drapes closed. In the winter, leave them open to let the light and warmth in. Also take a look at the weather stripping on your windows, and replace as needed to prevent drafts. Who doesn’t love a hot shower, but your water heater should be set at 120 degrees. “Anything hotter than that is wasteful,” advises Neisius. If there are only one or two people in your household, you may be able to get away with 115 degrees. Wisconsin weather is full of extremes, so it’s not surprising that 40 to 50 percent of your home’s energy is spent on heating and cooling. Neisius recommends keeping your AC at 78 degrees in the summer, and your heating at 68 degrees in the winter. While Neisius admits that this may be difficult, it’s also allows for the most impact. If those temperatures make you cringe a little bit, don’t give up. Any thermostat adjustments you make will save you money. “You get a 3 percent savings for every degree you adjust,” Neisius said. When in use, heating and AC filters should be changed monthly. This allows for peak performance. For anyone who would like more energy saving tips, Dunn Energy Cooperative has a free booklet available, “101 Easy Ways to Save.” Call (715) 232-6240 to receive a copy. –Cassandra Kyser
MAKING HEALTH CARE GREEN: LOCAL HOSPITALS HONORED FOR SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES
Three Chippewa Valley hospitals received awards this spring for their commitment to making the health care sector more earth-friendly. HSHS Sacred Heart in Eau Claire, HSHS St. Joseph’s in Chippewa Valley, and Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire were all honored with the Partner for Change Award from Practice Greenhealth, a nationwide nonprofit organization that promotes environmental sustainability. According to the organization, “The Greenhealth Partner for Change Award recognizes superior performance in environmental sustainability, covering a range of different sustainability programs and activities.” This includes reducing mercury use, reducing and recycling waste, sourcing products sustainably, and more, a press release stated. Among the hospitals’ specific achievements: Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s recycled more than 275 tons of comingled materials in 2017 and donated more than 6,400 pounds of medical equipment and supplies to development countries, while Mayo Clinic Health System reduced its energy use by 20 percent (three years before its 2020 goal to do so) and expanded recycling programs in patient areas. Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire also received the Greening the OR Recognition Award for making “substantial progress in reducing the (environmental) impact of the surgical environment.” In addition, Hospital Sisters Health System – which includes Sacred Heart and St. Josephs’s – was one of only 16 health systems nationwide to be given the System for Change Award, which honors the pursuit of system-wide sustainability goals. –Tom Giffey
SUSTAIN YOUR ENTHUSIASM: NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR SUSTAINABLE EAU CLAIRE AWARDS
The 2018 Sustainable Eau Claire Awards will celebrate all the ways locals contribute to a greener, more beautiful, functional city. The program is currently seeking nominations for 12 categories ranging from youth leadership to building design. These awards recognize individuals, businesses, and organizations that are committed to making Eau Claire sustainable, encouraging the community as a whole to follow their great example. This year, the selection committee will give special consideration to nominees that have been involved with projects related to greenhouse gas reduction or renewable energy, although other projects will be considered. Preference is given to nominees that partner within the community, serve underserved communities, are not directly affiliated with the City of Eau Claire, and that demonstrate that their project is replicable. Preference is also given to nominees that have not won a Sustainable Eau Claire award in the last three years. Applications are open until Sunday, July 8. Winners will be announced Wednesday, Aug. 29. Learn more by visiting eauclairewi.gov and searching for “Sustainable Eau Claire Awards.” –Lauren Fisher
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GO GREEN AND KEEP GOING! EVENTS, GROUPS, PROJECTS, PROGRAMS, AND BUILDERS KEEPING THE VALLEY SUSTAINABLE
EVENTS CITIZEN’S CLIMATE LOBBY MONTHLY MEETING Second Saturday until Dec.
9, 11am-1pm • L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, 400 Eau Claire St, Eau Claire • citizensclimatelobby.org Citizen’s Climate Lobby is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that empowers people from all walks of life to become effective advocates for a livable world. Learn proven ways to speak effectively and powerfully about climate solutions to friends, neighbors, business leaders, and elected officials.
ANNUAL CELEBRATE THE LOWER CHIPPEWA VALLEY RIVER CONFERENCE Oct. 27 •
Davies Center, UWEC • Watch for details at Beaver Creek Reserve’s website. An event that bridges communities, natural resource professionals, and concerned citizens with a coordinated initiative to protect and celebrate the Chippewa River.
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Watch for this event in Late April, during Earth Week • chippewavalleysustainability.org During Earth Week there are a number of sustainability, green, and eco-focused events held around town.
HAZARDOUS WASTE PICKUP EAU CLAIRE COUNTY RESIDENTIAL CLEAN SWEEP Jul. 14 & Sep. 8, 8am-noon • WRR Environmental Services, 5200 Ryder Road, about 1/4 mile south of Interstate 94, Eau Claire • co.eau-claire.wi.us Clean Sweep is an annual program sponsored by Eau Claire County for the safe disposal of hazardous household wastes generated in resident’s homes. With the exception of Very Small Quantity Generator business collections, Clean Sweep is a residential program. This means that hazardous wastes generated in a commercial enterprise, even if it is a home-based business, may not be brought to Clean Sweep.
CHIPPEWA COUNTY HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE CLEAN SWEEP Oct. 13,
8am-noon • Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, 306 Jefferson Ave., Chippewa Falls • (715) 726-7999 • co.chippewa. wi.us Chippewa County is making it easy for residents to get rid of household hazardous waste. See contact info for the full list of items you may or may not bring.
INTEREST GROUPS CHIPPEWA VALLEY TRANSIT ALLIANCE (CVTA) • (715) 835-4835 • email@example.com • facebook.com/ chippewavalleytransitalliance CVTA is a united voice for transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians in Eau Claire and neighboring counties of West Central Wisconsin. Meets monthly. Check Facebook for more.
CITIZENS CLIMATE LOBBY - EAU CLAIRE CHAPTER • (715) 829-8620 • eauclaire@
LOWER CHIPPEWA RIVER ALLIANCE (LCRA) • (715) 835-4829 • ellewolf1@hotmail. com • Find the LCRA online HERE Sup-
citizensclimatelobby.org • citizensclimatelobby.org A non-profit, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change. Trains and supports volunteers to reclaim their democracy and engage elected officials and the media to generate the political will for solutions that will stabilize the Earth’s climate. Check Facebook for schedule.
ports the conservation, preservation and stewardship of the Lower Chippewa River and Lower Chippewa River Basin extending from the Dells dam in the City of Eau Claire to the Mississippi River. LCRA organizes two educational opencar train rides into the Tiffany Bottoms each year, the proceeds from which are donated to prairie and oak savanna restoration, invasive species eradication, and scientific research projects.
CLEAN WISCONSIN • (608) 251-7020 •
firstname.lastname@example.org • cleanwisconsin.org Clean Wisconsin protects Wisconsin’s clean water and air and advocates for clean energy by being an effective voice in the state legislature and by holding elected officials and polluters accountable. Find Clean Wisconsin on Facebook.
LaFaive@co.eau-claire.wi.us • eauclairemastergardeners.weebly.com This UW Extension volunteer group provides horticultural education, community service and environmental stewardship. The Eau Claire Master Gardeners community invites you to join its efforts to educate and beautify the area. They organize several events, seminars, plant sales, garden tours, and manage public gardens for all to experience.
UWEC WATERSHED INSTITUTE FOR COLLABORATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES •
is a local chapter of the international environmental group based in San Francisco. Programs include slide presentations of trips, talks about environmental issues, guest speakers & seminars, and suggestions & campaigns for action.
SUSTAINABLE DUNN • sustainabledunn.
org This grassroots organization is devoted to promoting decisions that meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. Monthly programs are held covering a variety of sustainability topics. Its website includes “green” news, a discussion group, and more.
EAU CLAIRE GARDEN CLUB • facebook.com/ ecgardenclub The objectives of the Club are to educate members in all phases of gardening and to promote the enjoyment of gardening among its members and other people in the community Organizes plant sales, garden tours, guest speakers, and more.
TAINTER MENOMIN LAKE IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION, INC. • email@example.com • tmlia.org Atively engaged in activi-
GREENSENSE•studentorgs.uwstout.edu/ org/greensense GreenSense is UW-
ties to promote Tainter Lake and Lake Menomin, along with those bodies of water which are immediate to the lake, namely the Red Cedar River and the Hay River. Their aim is to support the protection and improvement of Lake Menomin and Tainter Lake waters by providing educational information on water quality and environmental issues affecting these bodies of water and their corresponding watersheds.
Stout’s student environmental organization since 1990. GreenSense cleans up Galloway Creek, participates in an Adopt-a-Highway program, cleans up the campus, and manages annual events at UW-Stout including RecycleMania, Earth Week events, a film festival, and they sponsor environmental speakers.
JOINING OUR NEIGHBORS, ADVANCING HOPE (JONAH): ENVIRONMENTAL TASK FORCE • jonahjustice.org JONAH’s
UW-STOUT SUSTAINABILITY OFFICE • (715)
232-5254 • firstname.lastname@example.org • uwstout.edu/sustainability/ Fosters a community of sustainability at UW-Stout. Coordinates the campus’s sustainability priorities &initiatives, works with local, regional, and national organizations, and promotes UW-Stouts efforts in the area of sustainability. Oversees the
Environmental Task Force aims to live together in a mutually sustaining relationship with the Earth so the integrity for all is preserved and honored. They educate and inspire others to get involved in preserving our quality of life in the Chippewa Valley. GO GREEN 2018
RIVER COUNTRY RC&D • (715) 579-5229
SIERRA CLUB - CHIPPEWA VALLEY GROUP • (608) 256-0565 • john.muir.chapter@ sierraclub.org • Find it on Facebook This
com • facebook.com/EauClaireClimateActionNowcan CAN’s mission is to organize to fight climate change through education, advocacy, and bold proposals that sharply reduce fossil fuel extraction and emissions by fostering a clean energy economy and creating sustainable communities. CAN takes on the moral responsibility to use their collective power to influence the city, county, state, nation, and world to respond appropriately and end climate change.
email@example.com • facebook.com/ uwec.c.club The purpose of The Conservationists is to strengthen ecological awareness and environmental ethics in the community and campus. The primary goal is to work with the community and university in restoration, conservation, and management efforts.
UWEC STUDENT OFFICE OF SUSTAINABILITY • (715) 836-4646 • firstname.lastname@example.org • uwec.edu A Student Senate commission
• Info@RiverCountryRCD.org • Find it on Facebook Known for collaboration and grassroots efforts among private citizens, land-owners, government agencies and businesses. They work with land-owners to cut through red tape and implement programs that improve land-use, foster resource development, and enhance habitat value and beauty of the region.
EAU CLAIRE CLIMATE ACTION NOW (CAN) • (612) 220-1970 • eauclairecan@gmail.
THE UWEC CONSERVATIONISTS CLUB •
THE PRAIRIE ENTHUSIASTS: CHIPPEWA SAVANNAS CHAPTER • stahland@centurytel. net • www.theprairieenthusiasts.org A chapter of The Prairie Enthusiasts, a non-profit grassroots conservation organization. Works throughout Dunn, Eau Claire, and Pepin counties, to restore remnants of prairie ecosystems still remaining in the Chippewa Valley that have not already been lost to development or habitat degradation.
EAU CLAIRE AREA MASTER GARDENERS ASSOCIATION • (715) 839-4712 • Erin.
UW-Sprout campus garden, CSA market garden, and Volunteers for Veggies program. Makes weekly donations to the Stepping Stones pantry.
responsible for allocation of the UWEC “green fund” to make UWEC a more sustainable campus. Funds projects, programs, and events addressing the various sustainability areas of transportation, energy, waste, climate change, water, food systems, campus ecology, education, and outreach.
(715) 836-4175 • email@example.com • uwec.edu/watershed/index.htm Its core goal is for UWEC students to develop an increased environmental awareness, vital ecological literacy, a commitment to conservation and sustainability, and a respectful, appreciative, and ethically intentional relationship between human society and the natural world in the Lower Chippewa River Watershed and beyond.
WISCONSIN BIKE FED • (414) 431-1798 •
firstname.lastname@example.org • wisconsinbikefed.org The Wisconsin Bike Fed, celebrating 27 years of bicycle advocacy in 2015, is a statewide organization representing thousands of members across Wisconsin and has staff based in Eau Claire. Its mission is to inspire, motivate, and unite a strong community of civic, business and political leaders, motorists and bicyclists to move bicycling forward in Wisconsin.
WISCONSIN GREEN BUILDING ALLIANCE •
(414) 224-9422 • email@example.com • usgbc. org/usgbc-wisconsin This organization’s mission is to promote ecologically sustainable development practices and provides resources such as an annual conference, educational forums and site visits to demonstration projects.
WISCONSIN LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS - EAU CLAIRE • (715) 225-3344 • firstname.lastname@example.org • conservationvoters.org A nonprofit, nonpartisan orga-
nization dedicated to electing conservation leaders, holding decision makers accountable and encouraging lawmakers to champion conservation policies that effectively protect Wisconsin’s public health and natural resources.
WISCONSIN NETWORK FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE • (608) 250-9240 • info@wnpj. org • wnpj.org Founded in 1991 as a
coalition of activist groups and citizens of conscience within Wisconsin. WNPJ facilitates activities, cooperation and communication among Wisconsin organizations and individuals working toward the creation of a sustainable world.
B R O U G H T T O YO U I N PA R T B Y
ENERGY PROGRAMS EAU CLAIRE ENERGY COOPERATIVE • ecec. com A locally operated, energy efficient, member owned cooperative. Provides renewable energy in the form of solar, wind, and geothermal to its members.
ENERGY AUDITS • xcelenergy.com Xcel Energy offers a Community Conservation Program in which small businesses and area residents can audit buildings to check heating, air conditioning, lighting, windows, doors, and air filtration for energy efficiency.
FOCUS ON ENERGY • 800-762-7077 • Fo-
email@example.com • FocusOnEnergy.com Works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect the environment and control the state’s growing demand for electricity and natural gas.
ECO-FRIENDLY CONSTRUCTION ADG: ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN GROUP 800
Wisconsin St. (Banbury Place Bld D4, Suite 202), Eau Claire • (715) 832-4848, (715) 832-4850 • adg-architects.com With over 20 years of experience, Architectural Design Group (ADG) has grown to become
a leader in architectural and sustainable design. Theirstudios specialize in business, energy & technology, government & public safety, health & wellness, learning, living, and spiritual facilities.
tagebuildersmenomonie.com • heritagebuildersmenomonie.com This home repair, remodel, and builder from Menomonie is dedicated to making homes more energy efficient. They also do drywall art.
BADGER STATE INC. 2507 Fortune Drive,
JIM ERDMAN • (715) 235-8941 • firstname.lastname@example.org A certified site asses-
Eau Claire • (715) 874-7777 • info@ badgerstateinc.com • badgerstateinc.com/ index.php This plumbing and heating contractor now offers residential and commercial solar water heating.
sor, Jim will survey your property to find out if wind or solar energy systems could work.
MEP ASSOCIATES 2720 Arbor Court, Eau
BUBBLING SPRINGS SOLAR 408 Red
Claire • (715) 832-5680 • email@example.com • mepassociates.com This consulting firm specializes in designing sustainable mechanical, electrical, plumbing, medical gas, and geothermal systems.
Cedar St. #5, Menomonie • (715) 2311885 • firstname.lastname@example.org This family owned Menomonie business offers solar thermal collectors for hot water.
CHIPPEWA VALLEY ALTERNATIVE ENERGY •
(866) 460-8656 • email@example.com • startsomewhere.co/home.html Dedicated to lowering heating costs using solar thermal, waste oil heaters, and biomass pellets. CVAE services include Solar PV sales, design, accessories and installation, solar site assessments; used-oil heater parts, repair, troubleshooting, rebuilds and accessories; pellet mill sales, accessories and more.
Next Energy Solutions • (715) 416-3022 • nextenergysolution.com Next Energy Solution was created with the belief that simple and affordable energy solutions should be obtainable for everyone. Expanding on this fundamental belief, they now feature an innovative way to offer solar energy to everyone and all clients. Now featuring the patented NES modular grid design system.
ENERGY CONCEPTS 2349 Willis Miller Dr.,
NEXT STEP ENERGY SYSTEMS 612 Wagner
Hudson • (715) 381-9977 • energyconcepts. us Energy Concepts provides turn-key commercial and residential solutions for all your renewable energy project needs—including wind, solar and highefficiency Garn wood-burning boilers.
St., Eau Claire • (715) 830-9337 • nextstepenergy.com A full service installer of renewable energy, high efficiency radiant heating systems and more recently urban design. Specializes in consultation, creative design and installation of solar electric, solar thermal and unique heating systems. They have provided service for
HERITAGE BUILDERS N6160 370th St.,
Menomonie • (715) 235-7910 • info@heri-
over thirty years to the greater Chippewa Valley region of Western Wisconsin.
RED CEDAR STEEL 4621 Domain Drive,
Menomonie • (715) 235-0618 • redcedarsteel.com/project/solar Red Cedar Steel does solar power assessments as well as installations across the Midwest.
SDS ARCHITECTS 7 S. Dewey Street, Eau
Claire • (715) 832-1605 • firstname.lastname@example.org • sdsarch.com This LEED-certified architectural firm specializes in higher education, K-12 education, industrial, commercial, community, religious, health care, and government projects, while focusing on energy conservation and sustainable design.
SPACEGROWER Menomonie • (715)
231-6174 • email@example.com • spacegrower.com Provides interior and architectural green design services. Interior services include furniture, recommendations, lighting, and layout. Architectural services include drawing, modeling, site layout, space programming, design, documentation, sustainable material research, and more.
TIRY ENGINEERING 220 1/2 North Bridge
Street (P.O. Box 44), Chippewa Falls • (715) 723-6777 // (866) 944-6777 • firstname.lastname@example.org • tiryengineering.com Among other services, Tiry Engineering provide clients with conservation designs that take the environment into careful consideration. Services include dams, erosion control, water supply, wetland delineation and restoration, air dispersion modeling, and anaerobic digestion services.
WATER SOURCE HEATING & COOLING 3650
Greenway Street, Eau Claire • (715) 8339001 • watersourcegeothermal.com Services include geothermal heat pumps, radiant floor heating, solar PV systems, geothermal loop systems, and ductwork, air filters, and humidifiers.
WRR ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES 5200
Ryder Road, Eau Claire • 800-727-8760 • email@example.com • wrres.com Serving the community and the environment with services including solvent recycling, fuel blending, wastewater treatment, hazardous waste collection, hazardous material spill response, site remediation, chemical processing and more.
GO GREEN 2018
GO GREEN 2018