Lake Villa Township residents who have opted to use a special feature included in their trash collection service have disposed of nearly four tons of potentially hazardous materials without leaving home.
The first six months of the pilot "At Your Door" program yielded 3,400 pounds of electronics, 5,190 pounds of household materials such as motor oil and antifreeze, and 265 pounds of batteries, fluorescent lights and lamps.
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"I've used it twice now. You can get a lot of stuff in those bags," said township Supervisor Dan Venturi, who's used the program disposed of 10 gallons of paint, chemicals and an old computer.
"It's amazing how many old chemicals you have," he added.
The special service began Jan. 1 as the only one of its kind offered by Waste Management Inc. in Lake County. It is part of the subscription garbage/recycling service, for which all customers are charged $1 per month even if they don't use it. There are about 5,000 customers in the township, Venturi said.
According to Waste Management, there were 103 collection stops through June, which would equate to more than 86 pounds per stop.
Venturi said the service was added to the township's existing trash collection contract in part because of a state law that went into effect Jan. 1 banning electronics from landfills.
Residents are allowed to dispose of old electronics as well as pesticides, chemicals, batteries, fluorescent lamps, automotive products, paints and thinners, aerosols and other items through the program.
More than 90 percent of the items were recycled, according to Waste Management. The service is suited to residents who are unable to attend or transport materials to collection events or drop-off centers because of time issues or physical limitations.
"People who use it love it," Venturi said. "When you want to get rid of this stuff, you want to get rid of it."
The service is a complement to other avenues available to Lake County residents to dispose of household hazardous waste or electronics, according to Peter Adrian, recycling coordinator for the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County.
"Anything that can be done to keep materials of a hazardous nature out of our landfills, off the side of the road and out of our waterways is a good thing," he said. "We know there are people out there who won't put this in the their car and drive it somewhere."
SWALCO collects household waste twice a month by appointment at it headquarters, 1311 N. Estes St., Gurnee, and hosts six mobile events. There also are about 30 opportunities, such as drop-off locations or special events, for residents to dispose of electronics. Call (847) 336-9340 or visit swalco.org for more information on those.
Lake Villa Township residents can schedule a pickup by phone or online and are mailed a collection kit that includes a sealable bag, labels and instructions. Items are secured in the bag and placed at the front door or in front of the garage door pickup. Up to four auto batteries, 10 fluorescent light bulbs, a television, a computer system or additional electronics with circuit boards are placed outside the bag.
Ammunition, medicine, explosives, asbestos and any unlabeled or leaking materials are not accepted.