If you drove past the Logan County Fairgrounds last Saturday, you might have had the idea that the Farmers Market, a Saturday morning go-to, had an amazing deal on rutabagas or cabbage. -rave.
Or, as one motorist put it on Facebook, maybe Logan County Fair had made a surprise opening weeks before the actual start date of the fair. Never before, the person said, had he seen such a line of traffic at the fairground.
The point is, hundreds of local residents flocked to the fairgrounds that day to get rid of old televisions, stereos, and unused home computers, possibly even an electric alarm clock that had broken down. . It was more and more rare recycling event in Logan County, exclusively for the disposal of electronic gadgets.
Sponsored by the Logan County Board, the event, according to prior publicity, accepted these items: small-scale computers and servers, computer screens, televisions, printers, fax machines and scanners, DVD and VCR players and recorders, consoles video games, converters, cable and satellite receivers, electronic keyboards, electronic mice and portable digital music players.
That pretty much covers the full gamut of yesterday’s modern electronic miracles, many of which aren’t repairable when they die, but are simply disposable. Residential waste haulers will not accept most of these items due to the small amounts of hazardous and toxic materials they contain. In other words, they are not suitable for a last trip to a landfill.
Reaffirming that, a list of devices that are illegal to mix with residential waste can be found on the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency website. It closely mirrors the above list of items that last weekend’s recycling event accepted.
And yes, this event was exclusively for residents of Logan County. Those who brought items were asked to show identification as proof that they lived in the county.
The volunteers who worked at last weekend’s event were overwhelmed with the response. One report noted that “the line of vehicles meandered through the Logan County Fairgrounds and extended all the way south to Fifth Street on Postville Drive.” Some motorists said they waited in this line for 90 minutes and up to two hours for their items to be unloaded.
The line was opened at 10 a.m. and was scheduled to operate until 2 p.m. But an hour before the scheduled closure, volunteers reported that capacity was running out and they could no longer accept items.
Meanwhile, dozens of vehicles remained lined up with old televisions and other contraptions they hoped to get rid of. Not all was lost, however, as these people were instructed to take their trash to the City of Lincoln Public Works Building on the east side of the city. This is where the overflow ended.
It is not at all difficult to find good news in all of this. One, thank you to the Logan County Board, the City Street Service, and the army of volunteers who worked on the event. Second, a warm toast goes to the hundreds of people who have participated in this recycling effort. Your efforts in this direction will surely have a good impact on the environment.
But a black shadow emerges. Remember the Logan County Joint Solid Waste Agency? It was supported by the city, county council, and villages and towns of Logan County. I believe its origins were linked to state mandates ordering local governments to recycle a certain percentage of their solid waste. This was a measure designed to ease the burden of landfill operations.
After:Tackett: The Death of Organized Recycling
The Logan County agency was quite active and visible with its day-to-day recycling opportunities. Remember the recycling bins in the Lincoln City Garage parking lot on Kickapoo Street in downtown? They were widely used by city dwellers.
The solid waste agency sponsored and organized special recycling events for appliances, tires, glass and household hazardous waste. He also sponsored the shredding of paper to county residents. And yes, he has also scheduled electronic recycling collection days.
The agency closed on November 13, 2018, taking with it easy ways for residents to get involved in recycling. Longtime agency coordinator Mitzi Rohlfs, in a press release, blamed the shutdown on shrinking local government staff in the agency and rising costs for recycling materials.
“The Agency cannot bear the costs of transporting and processing recyclable materials,” she said in the statement. The recycling bins, which had then been moved to the Big R parking lot, were removed and those dedicated to recycling their newspapers, magazines, plastic containers, etc., were left on their own.
Previously:Recycling receptacles find a new location
Rohlfs noted that over the agency’s two decades of life, it had met or exceeded its goals of recycling materials and keeping them out of residential waste landfills.
In these times, especially in these times, it seems almost unthinkable that recycling our waste – whatever it is – is simply not feasible. Our good land can only handle a portion of what is harmful to us, its people and future generations.
Dan Tackett is a retired editor of The Courier. He can be contacted at [email protected]