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Recyclepalooza helps residents dispose of difficult-to-recycle items

Even people who routinely recycle might find it difficult to dispose of those things that can’t be placed curbside, but they want to handle things responsibly. That’s where Recyclepalooza comes in.

  Volunteers sort through styrofoam donated at the 2018
  Recyclepalooza event in Flossmoor.
(Chronicle file photo)


Even people who routinely recycle might find it difficult to dispose of those things that can’t be placed curbside, but they want to handle things responsibly.

That’s where Recyclepalooza comes in.

The annual event, started in 2016, offers area residents an opportunity to get rid of difficult-to-recycle items at one convenient location.

Drive-through recycling will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, in the Parker Junior High School parking lot, 2810 School St. in Flossmoor.

Carrie Malfeo, this year’s coordinator, said the event is designed to keep things moving. Last year there were more than 50 volunteers who handled donations from about 500 vehicles.

She said two lanes will be set up, one for people bringing bigger items and one for people bringing smaller things. 

“You drive up, there’s volunteers to take all the things, and they sort it all to go in the different directions,” she said. “We try to make it as smooth as possible.”

Malfeo said materials that can be recycled in curbside pickup programs should not be brought to the event. But a wide variety of other things are welcome.

Bicycles, whether they are working or not, are welcome. 

“Working Bikes in Chicago refurbishes them and gives them to people in need,” she said. Electronics and small household items are fine. There is a $20 fee for each television set, but that’s the only thing that has a cost. Everything else can be dropped off for free.

Other items people might not realize are recyclable will be accepted, including unused hotel shampoos and conditioners. Those are donated to Respond Now for distribution to those in need.

Soda can pop top tabs will be collected. The Flossmoor Community Church preschool will donate those to Ronald McDonald House.

Styrofoam and No. 6 plastics will be accepted. Plastic grocery bags, dry cleaner bags and other plastic products and packaging that isn’t recyclable curbside will be accepted.

Other acceptable items include metals, printer ink cartridges, eye glasses, clothing, sporting goods, American flags, crayons and markers, envelopes and election yard signs.

As many people know, China no long accepts plastic for recycling, and the country was once the biggest market for U.S. recycling, but Malfeo said that should not stop people from recycling.

“They are still recycling in this country,” she said. “Some things they are stockpiling until they find the proper buyer. It’s not all going to the landfill.”

Homewood Disposal is currently conducting a public awareness effort about recycling. Malfeo said the company is urging customers to recycle properly. 

“Contaminants is the biggest issue of why we’re having so much problem,” she said.

“People put garden hoses in there. They put greasy pizza boxes, or window glass. That kind of thing can’t be recycled.”

Although Recyclepalooza is not quite as convenient as curbside recycling, Malfeo said it’s important to keep things that can be recycled or repurposed out of landfills.

“Landfills don’t hold their lining forever. They release toxins into our environment,” she said. “Think about what you’re bringing into your house and what’s going to happen to it at the end” of its usefulness.

Recyclepalooza is sponsored by the village of Flossmoor Green Commission, the HF Area Green Committee, Flossmoor School District 161 and Homewood Disposal.

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