Lawrence M. Walsh
WILL COUNTY – An “unprecedented” number of people participated in Will County Recyclepalooza celebrating the 45th anniversary of Earth Day at Joliet Junior College on Saturday, April 11. During the 2012 Recyclepalooza, the last one held there, nearly 500 cars dropped off electronics and household hazardous wastes; during the most recent event that many cars went through in the first two hours of the planned seven-hour event.
Volunteers stayed an additional two hours past the scheduled ending time to help unload items. Vendors stayed until 9 p.m., well past the 3 p.m. scheduled closing time. More than 1,500 vehicles came through the event.
“The good news is that Will County residents understand the importance of protecting our environment through properly disposing of unwanted items,” said Dean Olson, Resource Recovery and Energy Director.
“The crowds we saw at Recyclepalooza are proof of that.”
“Our 2012 event at JJC only filled one semi-trailer with hazardous material, but this event required four semi-trailers with no room to spare,” stated David Hartke, Will County Household Hazardous Waste Project Manager. “Per our request the contractor prepared for a higher turnout and still had to order a fourth semi-trailer to handle all the hazardous waste received.”
“The fact that we offer 13 electronic drop-off sites, and average 40,000 pounds of electronics collected at annual one-day events in Joliet, left us shocked to see an estimated 90,000 pounds of electronics delivered during the event,” said Marta Keane, Recycling Specialist with the Will County Land Use Department’s Resource Recovery and Energy Division.
“We broke all records for wood, carpet, and American Flags. Scrap metal and foam plastic, also known as Styrofoam, also had significant collections,” she said.
“The demand from the public for these services demonstrates the need for a permanent HHW and Recycling Site in the County,” said Olson.
“While we planned for an unusually large turnout, we did not expect the unprecedented number of people who attended,” said Keane.
“The average wait time for an event like this has historically been 15 to 30 minutes, depending upon the time of day and location,” added Hartke. The crowds on April 11 meant many participants had long wait times, some for a couple hours. Some were even turned away.
RRE staff would like residents to know about options residents have to recycle items that were being collected at the JJC event:
- Household hazardous wastes events are coming up from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 9 at Bolingbrook Village Hall, 375 W. Briarcliff Road and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 16 at the Will County Highway facility, 25930 Egyptian Trial, Monee. In addition, the County helps fund a permanent regional HHW site at 156 Fort Hill Drive in Naperville that is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. No latex paint is taken at the Naperville facility;
- Textiles of all types, including shoes, clothing and linens, will be accepted from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. May 11-15 at the County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago St., Joliet. From 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 15, toys and small home items, such as collectibles, also will be accepted in cooperation with St. Vincent DePaul. Goodwill has a donation collection center at 3084 Hennepin Drive in Joliet. Items may be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays;
- Electronics are accepted at 13 partnering sites throughout the County. A full list, along with hours of operation, is available at www.willcountygreen.com. Front-door service is available for $25 on an appointment basis through our independent contractor, Vintage Tech. (866) 631-1707;
- Scrap metal is taken at Monday-Saturday at Berlinsky Scrap, 212 Page Ave., Joliet. (815) 726-4334;
- Reusable or gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances can be donated to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 200 S. Larkin Ave., Joliet. (815) 726-1880;
- Wood, carpet and foam plastic (sometimes called Styrofoam) will be accepted at Sharefest from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 12 at Spencer School, 1701 S. Spencer in New Lenox.
Visit www.willcountygreen.com for information about upcoming events or click on the Green Guide tab to find the information about items to be recycled. Options for motor oil, compact fluorescent lights and much more are listed with year-round drop-off information.The Land Use Department is led by Director Curt Paddock and is under Will County Executive Larry Walsh’s office.