November 12, 2011

Electronics Recycling Drive Benefits Charity


By Patti Welander

BLOOMINGTON — General Manager Marcus Hayes didn’t know what to expect from the first electronics recycling drive at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, but he got his first clue from a line of cars waiting for him to open the gate.


“It’s taking off faster than I thought,” said Hayes, as he watched a steady stream of cars pull in during the first hour.


Frank and Judy Piejko of Bloomington were first in line, dropping off computers that had been in their basement for five years. “We can finally get rid of it,” said Judy Piejko, who was happy to donate to a good cause.


Habitat sells the electronics to Romeoville-based Vintage Tech Recyclers, which pays Habitat by the pound. That money is used to operate the local Habitat chapter.


“It’s not that much, but the important thing is it keeps hazardous material out of the landfill,” said Hayes.


Partly because of the many hazardous materials contained in electronics, an Illinois law that goes into effect Jan. 1 will ban electronics from landfills.


Frank Piejko said he wouldn’t have thrown away the computers.“That’s why it’s been in the basement so long,” he said. “I didn’t want it to go to the wrong place.”


Before Saturday, ReStore commonly received donations of televisions and cordless phones. On Saturday, volunteers unloaded everything from Christmas lights and microwaves to nearly new printers and computers.


Al Radefeld of Bloomington thought the drive was a good chance to get rid of phones and a computer he had sitting around for a couple of years.


“I thought I would repair it, but I didn’t,” Radefeld said.


Vintage Tech Recyclers refurbishes some items, although many dropped off Saturday were in working condition. Some of those, such as DVD players, are in high demand and could be sold through the ReStore.


Jim Mullins of Bloomington and sons Avery, 7, and Cole, 6, brought a 36-inch television to the drive. They used the television occasionally, but Mullins hoped someone might get more use out of it.


Avery echoed that sentiment after handing over the remote. “We didn’t use it,” he said. “I’m happy.”


Restore, 1402 W. Washington St., is a permanent drop-off site for Vintage Tech Recyclers. Donations and recyclable electronic items may be dropped off during business hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.