Day: September 8, 2006

Illinois Zero Waste Schools Grant Program Request for Application (RFA)

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is soliciting applications from Illinois public and nonpublic schools for grants to implement or expand recycling and waste reduction programs and strive to achieve zero waste status. Even though absolute zero waste may not be attainable, the ultimate goal of this program is to assist schools in their efforts to maximize reducing, reusing, recycling and composting waste; and eventually eliminate unnecessary waste.

Successful applicants may use grant funds to purchase necessary items to implement a zero waste project such as collection and storage containers, shredders, reusable plates and silverware, dishwasher, composting containers, etc. Illinois public school districts must submit only one application for the total number of schools participating in the zero waste project. The maximum grant request may not exceed $10,000 per school. For example, a district applying for five schools may submit one application and request up to $50,000.

Two levels of funding are available. To be eligible for Level I funding, each participating school must agree to collect white paper and one additional item generated at the school, implement at least three source reduction activities, instruct all involved parties about the benefits of the project, and commit to conducting a waste audit of remaining waste after the zero waste project is implemented. To calculate the eligible funding amount for Level I funding please use the following formulas:

Up to 350 students = $7 / student
More than 350 Students = $5 / student + $700 / school

To be eligible for Level II funding, the participating school must meet requirements for Level I and agree to collect and recycle at least two additional items, implement two more source reduction activities and/or compost all of the school generated organic waste, and conduct pre and post waste audits. The additional funding will be decided by: types and volume of items being reduced, reused, recycled or composted; percentage of additional waste diverted per student; and additional equipment the applicant will require to implement the proposed project. To qualify for the maximum funding, the applicant must commit to reach attainable zero waste status.

The grant application is available at: or by writing to Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Bureau of Energy and Recycling, Illinois Zero Waste Schools Grant Program, 620 East Adams Street, Springfield, Illinois 62701-1615.

Application Deadline: November 1, 2006.

DCEO will schedule workshops to answer questions about the grant application process, as well as collection, market, equipment purchase and education-related topics. Local workshops will be scheduled when at least five applicants express an interest in attending.

For further information or to schedule a workshop in your area please contact Bina Fleck at or 217-524-1838, TDD 800-785-6055. All applicants are strongly encouraged to attend a workshop prior to submitting an application.

Inquiries, other than general information inquiries, must be submitted as written questions to be posted online at and

All eligible applications received before 5 p.m., November 1, 2006, will be independently evaluated based on project merit, how well the criteria listed in the RFA is addressed, and how well the grant money will be utilized to divert the maximum amount of waste from landfills or reduce waste generation through implementation of source reduction activities. These criteria have been established to identify the applications demonstrating the most cost effective way to successfully implement the zero waste projects.

Request for Applications (RFA): Illinois Recycling Grants Program

Traditional Recyclables: Fiber, Plastic, Metal, and Glass and Computers and Electronics Recycling

Application Deadline: December 15, 2006

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Bureau of Energy and Recycling is pleased to announce two separate grant opportunities. The department is seeking applications from qualified entities for traditional recycling (fiber, plastic, metal, and glass) projects and/or computers and electronics recycling projects.

The purpose of these solicitations is to divert recyclable commodities from Illinois landfills by increasing the quantity of materials recycled in Illinois and increasing the self-sufficiency of the recycling industry, as well as to establish permanent collection facilities, expand operations for processing computers and electronic equipment, and for the removal and proper management of electronic components. Projects that demonstrate public economic benefits, such as job creation, will be given priority.

Grants are available to assist local governments, for-profit, and not-for-profit businesses and organizations with their recycling efforts. Traditional Recyclables grant funds may be used to purchase project-related capital equipment such as collection, processing or handling equipment; project-related expansion and modernization costs; and the development and distribution of materials designed to promote and educate participants about the project. Computers and Electronics Recycling grant funds may be used to set up permanent drop-off and collection facilities; purchase recycling containers; site improvements; and purchasing processing and handling project-related equipment to collect, refurbish, demanufacture, and recycle computers and electronic equipment.

Last year the Illinois Recycling Grants Program awarded 11 grants totaling a little more than $573,000 for Traditional Recycling and 13 grants totaling nearly $673,000 for Computers and Electronics Recycling. Grant funds are made available from the Illinois Solid Waste Management Fund. The maximum grant amounts for the Traditional Recyclables grant program are $60,000 for collection projects and $120,000 for primary processing projects. For the Computers and Electronics Recycling grant program, the maximum grant request is $60,000 for collection projects and $75,000 for processing projects.

Entities interested in submitting an application for Traditional Recyclables are encouraged to schedule an individual consultation with their regional DCEO representative by calling 217/785-3416. Those interested in submitting a Computers and Electronics Recycling RFA should contact Sam Al-Basha at 217/557-5662 or at It is recommended that all interested entities attend one of the scheduled workshops. Both RFAs can be downloaded via our website at (look to the right for the navigation bar for the appropriate RFA).

To obtain a Traditional Recyclables and/or Computers and Electronics Recycling RFA, please call 217/785-3416, TDD customers call 800/785-6055, or write to:

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Bureau of Energy and Recycling
Illinois Recycling Grants Program
620 East Adams Street
Springfield, IL 62701-1615


Murphysboro, IL
Thursday, September 21
Traditional 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
Electronics 2:15 – 3:00 p.m.
Jackson County Health Department
415 Health Department Road (Rear Building)
(intersection of Route 13 and Country Club Road –
north side of Route 13 approximately 2 miles west of
Carbondale, 3 miles east of Murphysboro)

DeKalb, IL .
Wednesday, September 27
Traditional 1:00 – 2:15 p.m
Electronics 2:15 – 3:00 p.m.
DeKalb County Health Facility
2550 North Annie Glidden Road
DeKalb, IL 60115

Springfield, IL
Friday, September 29
Traditional 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
Electronics 2:15 – 3:00 p.m.
DCEO Theatre
620 East Adams
Springfield, IL 62701

More information on grant funding for renewable projects.

EPA Announces Call for Proposals

Through the FY2006-2007 Funding Guidance, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is requesting proposals for an estimated $6,185,000 in funding. Proposals are requested for projects in the following areas in the following targeted amounts:

  • Beach Sanitary Survey ($500,000)
  • Pollution Prevention and Toxics Reduction ($500,000)
  • Great Lakes Biological Monitoring ($2,500,000 – $3,500,000)
  • Remedial Action Plan (RAP) Capacity/ Coordination/Management for Niagara River, and/or St. Lawrence River ($1,000,000)
  • Lake Michigan Lakewide Management Plan (LaMP) Priorities ($230,000)
  • Lake Superior LaMP Priorities ($100,000)
  • Lake Huron Coordinated Monitoring ($200,000)
  • Lake Ontario LaMP Priorities ($85,000)
  • Lake St. Clair Program Capacity/Coordination ($70,000)

The Request for Proposals is available today at Proposals must be received by EPA by 8:00 AM Central Daylight Time on October 23, 2006. Proposals may be submitted either to or through Grants.Gov.

Environmentally-Informed Materials Selection

Professor Mike Ashby will speak on the topic of ‘Environmentally-Informed Materials Selection’ in an upcoming web seminar on September 14. Sign up now to join this event from your office or home!

Eco-design is both an increasingly important part of the engineering curriculum and a topic that generates particular interest among students. Mike Ashby is an acknowledged authority in materials and process education and a leading innovator in the teaching of eco-selection. His talk will discuss the teaching of materials selection in the context of eco-design, including the use of CES EduPack to inform and engage students. More details and registration.

Rain Garden Underway at UIUC

The University’s first Rain Garden is underway! The Facilities & Services Labor Shop broke ground on Monday, Aug. 28. Students begin their work today under the direction of Prof. Tony Endress and with help from Urbana Public Works. The Rain Garden will feature a sculpture under the direction of Prof. Alex Fekete.

Please feel free to come see the construction! Work will be on-going for several weeks. The location is on Dorner Drive just south of Allen Hall. The Rain Garden is a BLUE Faculty/Student Project funded by Facilities & Services in conjunction with the Environmental Council.

For more information, see Rain Garden Coming to Campus.

PEER: Administration Declares Eco-Whistleblower Law Void for EPA Employees

Read the full story in Water & Wastewater Products.

The Bush administration has declared itself immune from whistleblower protections for federal workers under the Clean Water Act, according to legal documents released on Sept. 4 by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Citing an “unpublished opinion of the [Attorney General’s] Office of Legal Counsel,” the secretary of Labor’s Administrative Review Board has ruled federal employees may no longer pursue whistleblower claims under the Clean Water Act. The opinion invoked the ancient doctrine of sovereign immunity which is based on the old English legal maxim that “The King Can Do No Wrong.” It is an absolute defense to any legal action unless the “sovereign” consents to be sued.

Selling out on nature

Read the full commentary in Nature.

With scant evidence that market-based conservation works, argues Douglas J. McCauley, the time is ripe for returning to the protection of nature for nature’s sake.

Energy for a cool planet: Nature is assembling articles on new energy technologies.

This regularly updated web focus will provide a comprehensive overview of the energy landscape. Selected articles are FREE ACCESS.

Solar energy: A new day dawning?: Silicon Valley sunrise

Read the full story in Nature.

Sunlight is a ubiquitous form of energy, but not as yet an economic one. In the first of two features (link above), Oliver Morton looks at how interest in photovoltaic research is heating up in California’s Silicon Valley. In the second, Carina Dennis talks to Australian researchers hoping to harness the dawn Sun’s heat.

Study: Climate Change Affects Timing Of Plant Growth

Read the full article in Environmental Protection.

Any gardener knows that different plant species mature at different times. Scientists studying natural plant communities know this phenomenon allows species to co-exist by reducing overlap so there is less competition for limited resources. In a study posted online the week of Sept. 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ecologists working at Stanford University’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve report evidence that climate change may alter this delicate balance.

Citation for the full article:

Elsa E. Cleland, Nona R. Chiariello, Scott R. Loarie, Harold A. Mooney, and Christopher B. Field. “Diverse responses of phenology to global changes in a grassland ecosystem.” Proceesings of the National Academy of Science published September 5, 2006 (online). [Abstract | Full article (subscription required — UIUC has access)]

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