Dekker: E-waste, a new kind of garbage
By Julie Dekker Citizen Journalistemail@example.com July 5, 2012 12:52PM
E-waste is the new look of garbage. | Supplied Photo
Updated: August 9, 2012 6:13AM
I hear the term E-waste a lot lately. It seems that in our quest to be bigger, better and faster, we’ve created a new breed of garbage.
Just what we need — more waste on our planet that doesn’t go away.
As if plastic bottles and Styrofoam food containers weren’t bad enough, we have had VCRs, television sets and every conceivable electronic device being dumped into the earth in hopes that it will disappear.
Well, not in our lifetime, it won’t.
Fortunately, Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation in August 2011 to increase the recycling of electronic products. As of January, it is illegal to dump electronic devices into landfills.
Our waste haulers no longer pick up these electronic items if you put them out with your trash. It isn’t just about big items like TVs and monitors. It includes iPods, game consoles, keyboards, computer mice and much more. You can find a list of banned items on the Enviornmental Protection Agency’s E-recycling website.
E-recyclers are growing in number to keep up with the demand for disposing of electronic devices. There are places in Tinley Park and nearby suburbs that will accept your E-waste. A list of locations also can be found on the EPA’s website or by calling (800) 782-7860.
Orland Township Highway Commissioner Brian Younker and supervisor Paul O’Grady are sponsoring monthly recycling events. Electronic recycling drives will run from 8 a.m. to noon the second Saturday each month at the Orland Township Highway Department, 16125 S. Wolf Road, Orland Park. Remaining Saturday dates are July 14, Aug. 11, Sept. 8, Oct. 13 and Nov. 10.
† I think it bears mentioning that this year is the 120th anniversary of our town of Tinley Park being incorporated.
On June 28, 1892, nine men of our town, then known as New Bremen, were voted into office at the Rock Island Train Depot, now our Oak Park Avenue train station.
Henry Vogt became our first mayor, and Henry Andres our first village clerk. Among the ordinances that were passed that day was one that made a foot peddler pay 50 cents a day for a license, and a one-horse peddler pay 75 cents. They also decided that a butcher’s license would be $1 a month, and a liquor license would be no less than $150 and no more than $500 per year.
The people of that time never could have imagined the Tinley Park of today. I had the pleasure of speaking with one of Tinley Park’s older residents, Marialys Goesel, whose family was among the earliest settlers in the Tinley Park area.
Born in 1919, Marialys has seen everything change over time, including garbage.
“Most things came in glass or in containers you would reuse,” she said. “Food scraps were buried in the garden for compost or given to the farm animals, and other garbage could be burned. There were no plastic bottles or Styrofoam containers. People didn’t waste anything.”
Those early Tinley residents never could have imagined 6-foot plasma TVs, computers or iPods. They also could not have envisioned landfills filled with items that never would disappear in their lifetimes.
I can’t help but think that the old adage “leave it cleaner than you found it” shouldn’t be just for campers and Scouts. It should be the way we treat our planet every day. Maybe then our Earth would have a fighting chance at being healthy and beautiful for generations.
In 120 years, I wonder what they will think about what we have left behind.