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Hundreds participate to assure that recycling event is not a waste

Waukegan Park District crews volunteer help out makeshift electronics drop-off site Belvidere Park. | TINA JOHANSSON~FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA

Waukegan Park District crews volunteer to help out at the makeshift electronics drop-off site at Belvidere Park. | TINA JOHANSSON~FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA

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Updated: December 27, 2013 2:15AM

Hundreds of environmentally-concerned citizens drove to Belvidere Park in Waukegan on Saturday, bringing with them TV sets, computers, Fax machines and other electronics that had seen better days.

It was the second annual community recycling event, sponsored by the Waukegan Park District and the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County. With the inaugural recycling last year a success, the sponsors decided to repeat it, hoping people would make a habit of turning their broken electronics and household appliances for recycling instead of throwing them into garbage cans.

Merlanne Rampale, SWALCO director of community outreach, said she expected a turnout between 300-400 cars for the four-hour event which began at 9 a.m.

“The traffic was very steady the whole time,” she said.

The park off Lewis Avenue at Belvidere Road (Route 120) turned into a temporary recycling collection center with several collecting trucks parked at one end and a mobile paper shredding unit at the other side. To make recycling easy, people who brought their TV sets and other heavy electronic appliances didn’t have to get out of their cars or lift a finger. Volunteers from the park district would help unload and dump them into bins.

Tom Norton came with a box of cancelled checks and bank statements to the mobile shredding unit manned by Paper Tiger Document Solutions.

“I finally found in here a good, safe way to get rid of them. I felt relieved,” said Norton who also brought with him two old computers.

Lisa Strang brought with her a printer, an old fax machine and a keyboard.

“I started to recycle before it became cool to do it,” she said as her dog, a big Samoyed, looked on.

Tom Verenska came with a TV set as if to test the water first. As he drove off, he said he would return with a computer and another TV set.

“It makes me feel good to do this,” he said.

Among park district volunteers was April Yarza, who helped carry electronics from cars for recyclers and dumped them into a collection bin.

“I wanted to give back to the community,” she said.

Chris Murphy, a park district mechanic, drove a forklift to load big TV sets and other heavy electronic appliances into a waiting truck. To help him going, he said he had eaten a couple of doughnuts, courtesy of the park district.

“I thought this was the good thing for me to do,” he said of volunteering his time on a bright sunny morning.

Among other things collected were shoes. Shoes in decent conditions were destined for the shoe-reuse program. Obviously, one of the best ways to recycle a still wearable pair of shoes is for someone to wear them until it falls apart.

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