EDWARDSVILLE — County residents seeking to dispose of electronic or hazardous waste have three special collections planned by the Madison County Planning & Development Department.
The events come as the county seeks to establish a permanent site for residents to drop off hazardous materials or items that cannot be landfilled.
“We don’t currently have the funding to host and maintain a permanent collection site,” said Andi Yancey, Madison County sustainability coordinator. “It’s anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000 for these one-off events.”
A hazardous waste collection is set for 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Godfrey Ball Fields, 1101 Stamper Lane, Godfrey.
Two e-waste collections also are planned: 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 at Alton Public Works, 2 Emma L. Kaus Lane, and 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Chouteau Township shed, 906 Thorngate Road, Granite City.
The county relies on “one-off” events, in part, because of the costs, which are paid through a combination of funding from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and county “tipping” fees collected at local landfills.
The hazardous waste collection, co-sponsored by Lewis and Clark Community College, will take:
- oil-based paints
- paint thinners/strippers
- gas and other auto-related waste
- yard/pool chemicals
- fluorescent bulbs
- hobby chemicals
- household cleaners
- mercury and household batteries
Latex paint, tires, electronics, ammunition or explosives, fire extinguishers and business or bio-hazard waste will not be accepted.
Part of the problem with household hazardous waste is that, when mixed in a landfill, it can create even more toxic substances that can leech into the groundwater.
“It’s just best if they’re not deposited into the landfill. It’s better for everyone,” Yancey said. “We try to provide these events at least a few times a year to try to avoid that situation.”
At e-waste events, residents can bring anything with a cord — home electronics, TVs, computers, monitors, small appliances, air conditioners, washer/dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, furnaces and lawn equipment. Because of the Consumer Electronics Recycling Act, most of those items are prohibited in landfills.
“A lot of people don’t realize it’s illegal,” she said.
Not accepted will be business and contractor waste, paint, batteries, oils, fire extinguishers, propane or oxygen tanks, DVDs, VHSs, CDs, cassette tapes, transformers, ballast, devices containing mercury or smoke detectors.
The e-waste events are co-sponsored by Chouteau Township and the city of Alton, respectively.
All three events are by appointment only. Residents can sign up by scanning a code on flyers
While the one-off events are effective at getting the items out of the waste stream, there could be improvements.
“Something we’ve been working toward for Madison County is a permanent hazardous waste facility,” Yancey said. “With these one-off events it’s hard to capture everyone who needs the service.”
She said people moving, downsizing or adjusting their lives often have no place to take materials.
“We don’t have a great local option for those folks,” she said. “They need something on demand.
“Chicago has several facilities,” she said. “But downstate, and especially in the Metro East region, I would consider us to be pretty underserved.”
Several facilities are in Missouri, but only for Missouri residents. Commercial facilities are located farther away and charge to drop off items, she said.
Yancey said some there is work to use IEPA funding to create a permanent site, likely open only a few days a week but available to all Illinois residents.
“We’re in the very early planning stages,” she said, adding the group is talking with Heritage, based in Wood River.
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