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Lose Your Old PC, Win One for the Blue Star Team


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Blue Star Recyclers employee Leigh Schilling loves taking apart hard drives. “It's like one big puzzle. Not many people get to say they take apart stuff for fun,” she says. “My record is 175. I always try to outdo my record every single time.”

Schilling's impressive record and enthusiasm is illustrative of the workforce at Blue Star Recyclers, Colorado Springs, Colorado, which employs more than 30 adults with developmental disabilities.

Since its inception in 2009, the Blue Star team has ethically recycled nearly 7 million pounds of electronic waste. It's not hard to see the environmental impact of recycling that e-waste. Among the benefits are less hazardous materials filling landfills and the conservation of natural materials and energy. Less obvious, however, is the economic impact, especially as it pertains to Blue Star Recyclers and its mission of creating meaningful employment for people with disabilities.

Recycling 75 percent of the nation's waste will create 1.5 million jobs by 2030, according to a Tellus Institute report, “More Jobs, Less Pollution,” prepared in conjunction with the National Resources Defense Council. Further, the report notes that 86 percent of the total jobs involving discarded waste actually come from recycling, not from landfill management activity, despite the fact that we recycle only about one-third of our waste.

For Blue Star CEO Bill Morris, recycling is the means to a much larger goal: creating jobs and changing lives.

“I can't stress enough how economically significant this is,” says Morris. “It's not just because recycling e-waste creates local jobs, which is in itself a big deal. But it's creating jobs specifically for people with autism and developmental disabilities, a population facing high unemployment and dependence on government assistance.”

He notes that people with autism and developmental disabilities are superbly skilled at the methodical labor required to break down material to prepare e-waste for recycling. More, Blue Star boasts zero turnover, zero absenteeism and a nearly 98 percent engagement rate. That all translates into big dollars and cents.

Gainful employment for employees with autism and disabilities means reducing their dependence on Medicaid. Increased independence equals an estimated taxpayer savings of $13,000 to $15,000 per year for a part-time Blue Star Recyclers employee; a full-time employee saves taxpayers double that.

In the past six years, that's nearly $1 million savings for Colorado Springs taxpayers, and more than $2 million in new local revenues. This year, Blue Star opened its first facility in Denver, where it employs seven people with autism.

Less waste actually means more jobs, more money flowing through the local and national economy and improved environmental conditions. Recycling through Blue Star Recyclers provides the added bonus of helping to change the lives of adults with developmental disabilities through this important work.

Make the connection with Blue Star Recyclers today:

1. Help us keep up our destructive ways!

Blue Star accepts personal laptops, desktops, servers, printers, wire, batteries, fluorescent bulbs, appliances and even that ancient vacuum cleaner. The recycling fee you pay goes directly toward wages for our team to recycle and reclaim materials. Download a list of the items we accept and call ahead for times and drop-off locations.

2. Sign up your business for Blue Star's pick-up service.

Ask us about our local pick-up service for your company's e-waste. We handle electronics, hard drive destruction and fluorescent bulb recycling. Request a quote online.

3. Support our mission.

We need a new box truck to transport electronics from businesses and recycling events in our new Denver location. Please help us raise $20,000 to purchase a used truck and keep our team working. Consider making a onetime or a monthly tax-free donation to Blue Star Recyclers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit social enterprise. Your money helps pay willing workers a fair wage, reducing your tax burden, changing lives and making Colorado Springs a cleaner, better place to live. Call or email us for more information:

Blue Star Recyclers

100 Talamine Court

Colorado Springs, CO 80907

(719) 597-6119

info@bluestarrecyclers.com

Hours: Mon. – Fri. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This article was produced for and sponsored by Blue Star Recyclers, Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is not a product of or affiliated with KOAA.



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