Waukegan makes deal with SWALCO for electronics recycling
Dan Moran email@example.com August 20, 2013 7:26PM
Old TVs ready to be recylced at Belvidere Park in Waukegan during a recycling event Nov. 17, 2012. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 20, 2013 2:28AM
Dumping of trash in general is a problem that has plagued Waukegan over the years, but one item in particular has become a headache more recently: discarded televisions.
And city officials say abandoned TVs have become a bigger problem since January 2012, when the Illinois Electronics Products Recycling and Reuse Act banned such things as televisions and computer monitors from landfills, so residents can be stymied even when looking to get rid of a television properly.
“It’s really anything with a cord, but we’ve had a big problem with TVs,” 3rd Ward Ald. Gregory Moisio said Monday, Aug. 19. “We’ve all driven around town and seen a TV sitting out on the curb, because the garbage crews won’t take them.”
A local attempt at a solution arrived Monday when the City Council approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO) to set up an electronics collection site specifically for Waukegan residents.
According to Moisio, a bin reserved for electronics items will be placed at the public-works department’s city yards, 1700 McAree Road.
“People can bring their electronics there,” said Moisio, “leave them in a bin, SWALCO will have somebody come get it, take it to a certified recycler and, depending on how much we get, (we) could get some money from SWALCO.
“Now we have a place to bring them, a place to put them, and a place to get some money for them,” Moisio added. “But we have to get the residents to understand — don’t put them on the curb. Don’t put them out in the middle of a field. Don’t put them wherever. Bring them to the city yards, put them in a bin and it will get taken care of.”
Fourth Ward Ald. Harold Beadling said he’s heard that scrappers have been gutting discarded televisions for any copper inside. Public works director Tom Hagerty stressed that the SWALCO program will accept televisions regardless of whether or not they’ve been stripped in such a way.
Sixth Ward Ald. Larry TenPas said making the public aware of the program is critical, since he believes recycling efforts in general are not as successful locally as they could be.
“People are confused about what to do,” TenPas said. “From what I see, we’ve got a tremendous amount of people who don’t recycle. You’ve got garbage cans overflowing (that) have recyclables in there. (We) have to make a good effort to encourage people to recycle and what to recycle.”
When it comes to illegal dumping, Waukegan ordinance calls for fines that range from $50 to $500, plus the costs of cleanup. Moisio said he hopes that the new electronics arrangement with SWALCO will eliminate at least that end of the problem.
“We’ve got to get it from the house to the bin,” he said, “with no curb or field in between.”
SWALCO coordinates collection sites at 19 different municipalities and townships from Antioch to Zion, generally at public works or road-maintenance facilities. Acomplete list of locations, hours of operation and accepted items, is posted at www.swalco.org/Electronic.