McHenry County, IL, has a dedicated team of environmental enthusiasts known as The Environmental Defenders who conducted a recycling collection on March 14. The collection focused on fluorescent tubes, expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, batteries and electronics, and was held at 4005 Main Street in the Metra Station parking lot.
The Defenders’ goal is to keep items out of the local landfill that can be recycled, but where a curbside recycling program isn’t currently in place. EPS foam, for example, can be recycled into plastic pellets, which are the raw material used to make hundreds of other plastic products, everything from water bottles to polyester carpets.
The USAgain Clothes Collection System was at the drive collecting clothing, linens and shoes. Citizens could also recycle old DVDs, CDs, VHS and cassette tapes. Larger electronics were being accepted, but required a donation to help cover the cost of recycling these products. A contribution of $10-$35 was average for TVs and computer monitors. A prospective member of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County (EDMC) received a coupon to recycle two TVs or monitors for free. Participants could also recycle old printers, phones and clean microwaves. Donated aluminum cans helped raise funds for education and advocacy programs.
Foam recycling is less common than it ought to be due to lack of awareness of its recyclability. Local organizations, such as the Defenders, are dispelling the myth that it can’t be recycled and are offering solutions where curbside recycling isn’t currently available. The Defenders’ recycling drives are held each month alternating between McHenry and Woodstock locations. If someone requires EPS foam recycling more frequently, it can be dropped off at the Lakewood Village Hall or the Lakewood Public Works building on Haligus Road.