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Hundreds participate in recycling event

Old TVs ready be recylced Belvidere Park Waukegan during recycling event Nov. 17 2012.
| Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media

Old TVs ready to be recylced at Belvidere Park in Waukegan during a recycling event Nov. 17, 2012. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 18, 2013 1:58AM

A steady stream of cars and SUVs arrived at Belvidere Park in Waukegan on Saturday bearing mostly used electronics at a recycling event sponsored by the Waukegan Park District and the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County.

“Recycle First, Trash Last” were the watchwords.

“We’re very pleased with the response,” said park district superintendent Mike Trigg as cars and SUVs circled around an island lined up with a dozen or so bins into which recyclable items were dumped. Parked nearby was a huge SWALCO truck waiting to load up the “donated” items.

Trigg said the park district has formed a green team, which promotes environmental protective initiatives. The recycling event was hatched by the team members.

“We want to educate the community that people can recycle things they no longer use, instead of throwing them to the garbage,” he said.

A final count showed the event attracted more than 450 vehicles bringing in an estimated 40,000 pounds of recyclable items, according to park district spokeswoman Teddie Anderson. Some came from Chicago, Glenview and Geneva, she said.

Among those responding to the call was Ali Albakra of Waukegan, who drove up in a car carrying a toaster, a telephone, a coffee maker and pairs of shoes.

“I’m doing this to help protect the environment,” he said from his driver seat, waiting for his turn to reach the volunteers from the park district’s green team who would unload them.

Jim Kowal of Waukegan and his wife Emily came in two cars loaded with five television sets, three computers, two VCRs, phones, stereo speakers and strings of Christmas lights.

“We didn’t want to see them go into the landfill,” said Jim, pointing out some of the items were from his parents.

“I feel relieved because now we have more space to use after cleaning them out from the basement,” he added.

Kevin Deram of Waukegan said he saw an ad in the paper about the event and decided to do his part to save the environment. He came in a truck bearing two television sets, three monitors and five VCRs.

“This is a good cause and I would like to see them do this regularly,” he added.

Inside the park district office were additional recycling activities. The Lions Club was collecting used glasses for the Lions Illinois Foundation. The glasses will be cleaned, their prescriptions read and then given to the needy, not only in the U.S. but abroad, according to French Dugay of Kenosha, a Lions past governor for a district in the Joliet area.

There were booths promoting energy conservation and composting kitchen waste. But the main attraction appeared to be Max, a 6-year-old black Labrador retriever. On command from his owner, he would pick up recyclable items like a bottle, a coat hanger or a book, and deposit them in a plastic container.

“If a dog can do it, certainly people should be able to do it,” said owner Keith Sanderson of Deerfield.

He said he adopted Max from the Orphans of the Storms facility in Riverwoods which goes to show, he emphasized, abandoned dogs, too, can be recycled to good use.

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