GLEN ELLYN – As a kid, David Cihak remembers when batteries used to be tossed in the garbage.
Since then, society has learned of the environmental problems that throwing batteries in the trash can cause. The Glen Ellyn resident was among those taking advantage of the battery recycling being offered at the Earth Day and Recycling Extravaganza on April 22, an event sponsored by the Glen Ellyn Park District, village of Glen Ellyn, Glen Ellyn Public Library and Glen Ellyn Environmental Commission. The event was held on Earth Day.
"We go through a lot of batteries and wanted to dispose of them in the proper manner," he said.
He also dropped off some of his old college accounting books for Glen Ellyn-based nonprofit organization SCARCE, which stands for School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education. As part of its mission, SCARCE rescues books and school supplies from the landfill and gets them to children in need.
Jerry Nash and his wife, Kathy, of Lombard were at the event talking to attendees about the value of locally grown food. The couple has plans to open a cooperatively owned grocery store in Lombard.
"We saw a lot of demand for locally produced and naturally and cleaner-produced food in our area," Jerry Nash said. "And we realized it would be nice to have a grocery store that provided for this."
The couple currently is accepting membership into the Prairie Food Co-op.
"Co-ops take about five to seven years to open," he said. "When you're organizing, you're getting the message out and you're inviting people to become owners."
Prairie Food Co-op currently has 650 owners, and the next goal is to reach 800 owners and sign a lease for a building to house the grocery store, he said.
Nash said he thought it was appropriate to be part of the Earth Day event.
"We know that a lot of people who are interested in Earth Day are interested in what we're doing," he said. "We do promote and support environmental responsibility. Just by focusing on locally produced food in and of itself lowers the carbon footprint. We'll hopefully get tomatoes that are 20 to 30 miles away rather 2,000 miles away in California."
Karen Vanek of the nonprofit group Sustain DuPage also was at the event. The group's mission is to empower DuPage County residents with sustainable living skills and to enact sustainable policy reform.
"We are trying to demonstrate a lot of the resources that we have in DuPage County," she said.
To raise funds, the group was selling apple cider vinegar at the event along with other homemade products.
"We created apple cider vinegar from trees in Glen Ellyn," Vanek said. "They had surplus apples, and we took upon ourselves to harvest them... It's really expensive if you want to get organic pure apple cider vinegar from the grocery store."
Also during the event, kids had the chance to paint a mural for this week's Market Francais at the Glen Ellyn Civic Center. The event celebrates the village's Sister City partnership with Le Bouscat, France.
Glen Ellyn resident and cartoonist Geoff Bevington drew the mural for the kids to paint.
"The idea for this is to get community involvement and to have kids be able to say they were part of this," he said. "Painting murals is kind of a labor of love when you can get people involved so they can all say, 'Hey, I did that.'''