According to the EPA 2010 Municipal Solid Waste report, the average U.S. citizen generates 4.43 pounds of waste per person per day. Statistics suggest DuPage County residents are anything but average, generating nearly 8 pounds of waste per person per day.

Elmhurst College’s Recycling Extravaganza, held each April, provides an alternative for ridding your home of unwanted items. Instead of putting “trash” out on the curb for the City of Elmhurst’s free refuse collection day, drop it at the college for recycli2012RecyclingTVsng and repurposing.

“It’s personally satisfying to do something meaningful with unwanted items rather than sending them to the landfill,” says Christine Smith, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life at Elmhurst College. “Repurposing items cuts down on overall waste.”

“The city’s free refuse collection day is not actually ‘free’ in that it costs the city, and thus its residents, to include this service in its overall financial arrangement with the disposal vendor,” says Smith.

Additionally, because of the State of Illinois’ ban on electronics in landfills, the City of Elmhurst will not accept electronics in its free refuse collection day.

As is the case every year, all items set out by the curb on the city’s collection day are sent to a landfill.

The Elmhurst College Sustainability Committee first initiated the recycling event in April 2011.

“Hosting a recycling event was a very practical way to demonstrate our commitment to Stewardship – one of our College’s five Core Values – and would be responsive to the state law regarding responsible disposal of electronics.”

As of January 1, 2012, Illinois banned used electronics from being tossed into landfills. Banned items include: TVs, computer monitors, computers (laptop, notebook, tablet), printers, DVD players, DVD recorders, VCRs, MP3 players, gaming systems, fax machines, small scale servers, scanners, computer mice, digital converter boxes, cable receivers and satellite receivers. The ban helps to keep toxic materials such as lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and beryllium out of the soil and groundwater, according to the Environmental Law & Policy Center’s Chicago office.

“Items will be properly recycled or used by an organization in need,” says Smith.

During previous Extravaganza’s, many organizations have benefited from the collection including DuPage Habitat for Humanity Restore, SCARCE, Cornerstone Used Book Store, St. Vincent De Paul, Elmhurst Lions Club, Elmhurst Bicycle Club, and Working Bikes Cooperative.

Assisting these organizations in the collection process are approximately Elmhurst College students and employees. Students are part of the college’s environmental student organization, the Greenjays, with other students participating as one of the college’s monthly Bluejays Care Service Projects, hosted by the Office of Leadership, Service and Engagement.

Items collected at the Elmhurst College Recycling Extravaganza include: electronics, various types of building supplies, appliances, books, clothing, home goods, eye glasses, hearing aids, batteries, fire extinguishers, propane and oxygen tanks, bicycles, scrap metal, fluorescent lights. For a complete listing of collected items, visit

“Elmhurst is a great place to live,” says Smith, “and we can be a leader by being better stewards of our resources.”