The lines weren’t as long and the number of semi’s filled with old electronic equipment were not as plentiful at Sen. David Koehler’s second annual electronic recycling event Saturday, but that’s good news.
Area Recycling Facilities Manager Tony Lamberson said that last year 119,000 tons of electronic waste was collected at the event held in 2016. On Saturday, 97 tons of material was collected free of charge for recycling.
“Hopefully we’ll see this drop every year, because eventually, we’ll get through all of them,” said Koehler. “They filled nine semis last year, and this year, they filled about eight of them, so that’s quite a bit of stuff.
“It was really organized very well this year. Last year, we had a line a half-mile down the road on (Illinois) Route 29. This year we didn’t have any of that. Everything went much faster, much quicker. They had a better system.”
Peoria Disposal Co., the parent company of Area Recycling, approached Sen. David Koehler, D-Peoria, with a proposal for an electronic recycling event in Pekin a few years ago. Koehler was eager to start a program for his constituents.
“We hear this over and over again with Tazewell County and some of the township offices,” said Koehler. “If people don’t have a cheap and easy place to dump their electronics, they end up in a ditch.
“The first year we collected (119,000) tons of recyclable TVs, computers, monitors, and what have you, and that’s stuff, that if disposed of properly, we don’t have to spend tax dollars going out to clean the roadside.”
The event is always held on the first Saturday of October, which coincides with the city’s fall Spruce Up Pekin.
“We try to coordinate that with the city as well, give more focus on both things,” said Koehler.
City Manager Tony Carson said the electronic recycling event by Koehler and Area Recycling is a great event. The fall Spruce Up Pekin was light compared to the spring event.
“I think (that’s) mainly because we had a heavy amount that was picked up in the May Spruce Up,” said Carson. “And we have unlimited pickups year, so it always surprises me when we do have a large amount, because by all rights you can just put it out any time of the week that your regular pickup is and we pick it up.”
There were a few oddities at the event this year, things people don’t see very often — a rotary phone and old console TV with a record player on top. Last year, someone dropped off an old wooden round-top tube radio.
“It was older than me,” said Lamberson. “I just turned 60.”
Lamberson said the company is committed for the future.
“The anticipation is we’ll have less every year, and we hope that happens,” said Lamberson. “That means everybody is recycling them and not throwing them in the ditch or something.”
Jennifer Allison, director of Koehler’s district office, said they heard appreciation from constituents at the event.
“There was one individual who said he was cleaning out his parents home and there was three or four TVs, which of course, they wouldn’t have had a method or an option to dispose of without paying a significant amount of money,” said Allison. “Another gentleman said he just bought a house and there were three or four of the big tube TVs, and he didn’t know what he was going to do with them.
“So a lot of times we saw the vehicles coming through wasn’t just someone getting rid of one small TV, there were several items they didn’t have options for otherwise, so I think that’s why people with multiples were coming in there — they just didn’t have options in the past.”
The electronics are taken to Kuusakoski Recycling in Peoria. The company has the equipment and experience to process the items safely, said Lamberson. The internal components of electronics can be hazardous. For example, the glass from televisions has lead in it.
Kuusakoski, located at 2022 W. Townline Road, Peoria, takes items for electronic recycling from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“We’ll do it every year until there is no need, no more TVs and stuff out there, or there might be something else they turn around and do,” said Lamberson.
Follow Sharon Woods Harris at Twitter.com/sharrispekin