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One-day electronic recycling events continue to grow
Tammy Reiher
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One-day electronic recycling events continue to grow

WILL COUNTY – An electronics recycling record that stood for 15 years has been broken three times since 2016, most recently twice in as many months.

Will County Executive Larry Walsh said, “I am both impressed and gratified at the number of people who are attending our one-day electronic recycling and household hazardous waste events.

    “Our very first event was held in 2000, and in 2001 at an electronics recycling event in Naperville, 103,107 pounds were collected.”

That remained the largest one-day collection until 2016, when an event in Braidwood collected 106,228 pounds, he said.

The record stood until March 18, when a one-day collection event at Romeoville High School garnered 112,861 pounds of electronics. Of the 1,420 vehicles which came through, the occupants of 1,100 said they had electronics to drop off. The remaining 320 said they only had household hazardous wastes.

Romeoville’s record was short-lived. Land Use Director Curt Paddock said the Resource Recovery and Energy Division reports that the collection at Troy Middle School in Shorewood on April 8 set yet another record – 121,184 pounds.

    Paddock said, “We had the most participants in our history. There were 1,551 vehicles that came through. Of those, 39 percent dropped off electronics, 20 percent brought household hazardous waste and 41 percent brought both.

The county’s next collection event will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 6 at the Washington Township Center in Beecher. As at the other one-day events there is a limit of two televisions per vehicle and those dropping off items to be recycled will need to provide identification proving they are Will County residents or residents of an Illinois community partially in Will County.

Another permanent site

In 2016, the county’s electronics recycler backed out of its contract, forcing the county to close its permanent recycling sites. Since that time, the County’s Recycling Specialist, Marta Keane, found a new recycler, ERI of Plainfield, Ind., and A-Team Recyclers of Joliet. Efforts continue to open more collection sites.

Channahon Township became the newest electronics recycling partner with the approval by the County Board at its April meeting, bringing the total to six permanent sites. Channahon Township is making arrangements to open on two Thursday evenings in a convenient location.

At its high point, there were 13 permanent sites, said Executive Walsh. Between the permanent sites, the one-day collection events, and front-door service Will County collected more than 4.4 million pounds of electronics in 2015.

The contract with ERI allows the county to collect 4.5 million pounds this year. Given the small number of sites and restrictions required, the county does not expect to collect that much in 2017. Last year, the county collected 2.1 million pounds.

Walsh explained that ERI is allowing the county to take in electronics from other areas to make up the difference. At the April meeting, the board took action to allow the Land Use Department’s RRE to work with Champaign County and to allow Ottawa to bring in televisions from the tornado.

    “After the tornado that went through Ottawa and Naplate in February, LaSalle County needs a place for its residents to recycle their ruined electronics. They have an estimated 10,000 pounds of electronics that need to be disposed of properly,” he said.

Other such agreements could be forthcoming, said Paddock.  The agreements are only for one year, giving Will County the ability to keep the entire 4.5 million pounds for itself if it appears that next year it needs to.

Upcoming events

Beginning Monday, May 1, the County will begin its annual textile and shoe collection event from 8:30 to 4:30 at the County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago St. The event will be held through Friday, May 5, when WJOL radio personality Scott Slocum will broadcast his show from 5:30 to 9 a.m. at the COB. On Friday, household items will also be collected.

Walsh and Paddock both said they are happy to see so many Will County residents taking the time to participate in events, following the RRE on Facebook and subscribing to the monthly e-newsletter.

    “It is obvious,” said Walsh, “that Will County residents care deeply for our environment.”

The Land Use Department is under the County Executive’s office. For more information on its programs, including upcoming events, go to www.willcountygreen.com.

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