Not an e-waste of time

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Spartan athletes collect large electronics from seniors

A group of Oak Lawn CommunityOL-E-WasteOak Lawn Community High School Athletic Director Kevin McKeown poses with the students who participated Saturday in the village’s first e-waste pickup. Students removed e-waste such as televisions from the homes of several seniors who otherwise would have trouble disposing of the items. Another e-waste pickup is scheduled for October. Submitted photo. High School student-athletes spent Saturday morning taking large electronics off the hands of seniors in the community.
The first e-waste pickup was the brainchild of Jack Lopez, a veteran member of the village’s public works department who also oversees the e-waste program and its collection site at the public works garage, 5550 W. 98th St.
Lopez collaborated with Mayor Sandy Bury and Mike Riordan, principal and superintendent of Oak Lawn Community High School, to recruit members of the Spartan Athletic Leadership Team for the collection, which removed large electronics from the homes of several seniors who otherwise have difficulty arranging disposal.
“It’s for the right reasons,” said Lopez, who’s been involved with the e-waste collection site since in opened in 2009.
But the program had others benefits, he said, including exposing well-meaning adolescents to the community, Lopez said. He said that too often teenagers get a bad rap due to the actions of a few.
“I have always maintained, ‘You don’t know the kids that I know,’ ” he said.
Students traveled from one house to the next on a school bus driven by high school athletic director Kevin McKeown, who also was instrumental in organizing the event. The e-waste was loaded onto a village truck and transported to the collection site.
Another benefit of the program was exposing students to the importance of recycling, Lopez said.
“The environment wins, the school wins, the kids win and the village looks good,” Lopez said.
The e-waste site is open from 2-4 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and 10 a.m.-noon on the second Saturday of the month. Volunteers are welcome and students can gain service hours working at the site.
The site has been a success since it opened more than four years ago, Lopez said. In 2009, 45 tons of e-waste was collected compared to more than 150 tons in 2013, he said.
Those interested in volunteering can contact Lopez via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .