January 16, 2014

Petzel: Oak Lawn committed to e-waste recycling

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Greetings, fellow Oak Lawnians! Now that the holidays are behind us, it’s a great time to take advantage of Oak Lawn’s electronic waste collection site to get rid of broken or obsolete electronic items that you no longer use or want.

Jack Lopez has worked for the village’s public works department for 22 years. Aside from his full-time responsibilities, Lopez also volunteers his time to oversee the e-waste program and its collection site at the public works garage, 5550 W. 98th St. The drive-through site opened in 2009, and Lopez and other volunteers have dedicated themselves to making the e-waste recycling program a success.

The collection site is open from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to noon on the second Saturday of each month. Volunteers will unload your e-waste items from your vehicle, and they also organize and sort the recycled material and keep the site clean.

The site is a terrific resource for residents of Oak Lawn and neighboring communities as well. Lopez is extremely knowledgeable about e-waste recycling and is happy to answer any questions and educate residents on the topic.

“Tons of waste are now being kept out of landfills, which not only saves money but it’s also environmentally safe,” he said.

He also keeps records on how much e-waste has been collected since the program began. In 2009, 45 tons were collected compared with more than 150 tons in 2013.

“I figured it out and we collect over 960 pounds of stuff per hour that we’re open,” Lopez said.

When the site first opened, “I thought folks would eventually run out of stuff, but the site seems to be busy every month. It’s pretty consistent,” Lopez said.

He said the most common e-waste recyclable dropped off at the location is televisions. Items that can be taken to the site include just about any electronics with an electrical cord, holiday lights, small appliances, microwave ovens, cameras, cellphones, lithium and rechargeable batteries, inkjet toner cartridges and computer towers, monitors and keyboards.

Oak Lawn uses Vintage Tech Recyclers (, located in Romeoville, to remove data and software from electronic devices so they can be refurbished for possible reuse.

If an electronic device cannot be reused, Vintage Tech disassembles it and recycles its components. Cellphones are donated to the Cell Phones for Soldiers organization ( Large appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers and air conditioners as well as glass items are not accepted.

Lopez always needs volunteers to help out at the collection site. Anyone can volunteer, but the minimum age for students is middle school. Not only will student volunteers earn community service hours, but Lopez educates them on the importance of recycling.

If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Lopez at 708-499-7748 or via email at For more information on items accepted at the collection site, visit and click on the “Electronic Waste Disposal” link. The e-waste program is a valuable community resource’ and we should all be taking advantage of it.

Here’s our 2013 celebrity announcements: Happy 7th birthday to Aidan Nohava, with love, from his parents. Happy 10th birthday to Brooke Zwartz from her parents, Debbie and Dan, Blake, Dylan, Shelfee and family. Happy 10th birthday to Sunny Petzel (yes, we’re related) and Brandy Turek. Ella Errant wishes her granddaughter, Tessa, a happy 11th birthday. Birthday wishes also go out to Tessa’s dad, Kenny, who’s turning 44, from Katrina, their children and family. Benjamin Hudy’s parents wish him a happy 11th birthday. Happy 14th birthday to Hanna Harris from her parents. Happy 18th birthday to Nick Erdakos from his family. Sweet 16th birthday greetings go out to Angelica Cohen from her family.

John Sasala’s parents and sister, Michelle, wish him a happy 21st birthday. Janet and Bill Goetz wish their daughter, Emily, a happy 28th Aggie and Gene Mark send birthday wishes to their daughter, Nancy Ferrucci, and granddaughter, Lisa Fox. Happy birthday to Sharon Barsevick Siple from her husband, Mark, Zachary, and family. Birthday wishes go out to Kathy Novak from her family. Happy birthday to Linda Walrath from her children, Dan and Jennifer. Chris Augle’s family wishes him a happy birthday. Birthday wishes go out to Patrick Petzel (yes, we’re related) from his family. Deborah Michicich’s husband, Kevin, Sam and Anna, send her their love on her birthday. Brian Anderson’s family wish him a happy birthday.

Wedding anniversary wishes go out to Frank and Samantha Stephens as they celebrate their second anniversary.

Keep your fellow Oak Lawnians informed about birthdays, special events or special “stuff” going on with your family or within the community. Call me at (708) 899-9544.

Until next time …

By Cheryl Petzel Citizen Journalist/ January 15, 2014 1:50AM