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Hundreds participate in Minooka Earth Day recycling event

MINOOKA – Broken televisions, old Christmas lights, outdated computers and all other manner of junk filled the Minooka Village Hall parking lot Tuesday morning.

In support of Earth Day, hundreds of local residents brought their junk to the Minooka Earth Day Recycling Event, hosted by Grundy County and the village of Minooka.

“We’ve had an absolutely fantastic turnout this year,” Grundy County Administrator and Land Use Director Heidi Miller said. “I would imagine with the amount of traffic we’ve had, we’ve collected well over 20,000 pounds today.”

A line of more than 50 vehicles stretched around McEvilly Road most of the morning as residents waited to unload their old electronics, medicines, plastics, batteries, paperwork and other recyclable goods.

“I don’t mind waiting in line, because it’s so exciting to see so many people recycling,” attendee Amber Perry said. “Just think of all of this going in our landfill. It goes to show that people will do the right thing if you give them the opportunity.”

Everything collected at the event will be reused, repurposed or recycled.

The electronics, collected by Vintage Tech of Plainfield, will be broken down and any recyclable material will be separated out. Any gold within the electronics will be salvaged, melted and sold by the facility for a profit, Miller said.

Verdeco Plastics of Channahon filled a large truck with plastics and cardboard, which will be recycled at their facility.

“We have machinery that literally grinds it, melts it and makes it into another form,” Verdeco representative Peg Sherry said. “It’s reused in manufacturing. We’re trying to keep everything green and good for the environment.”

The expired medicines and pills collected by the Grundy County Coroner’s office will be driven to Indianapolis where they will be incinerated, Deputy Coroner Christina Hintz-Symoniak said.

“On average, we collect about 56,000 pills per month at our office,” she said.

Residents could also have their important documents shredded by Shred X of Wilmington, which usually charges for the service. All of the paper will be baled at the Shred X facility and recycled.

“We’ve been busy. It’s just been nonstop today,” Shred X representative Fred Thatcher said.

Textile and shoe recycler USAgain of West Chicago did not collect many donations, but USAgain’s community recycling specialist Ray Amato said most people don’t realize how much clothing ends up in landfills.

“The average American throws away 75 pounds of textiles per year,” Amato said. “We take clothes in any condition and any types of shoes. We either recycle or repurpose everything we collect.”

Amato said most of the shoes collected are reused for their rubber.

“You hear about all the track and fields made from old shoe rubber – that’s often what happens,” he said.

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