Published: November 16, 2013
Eldon Hunter did his part to clean up Colorado Springs Saturday.
He pulled up at Blue Star Recyclers in his restored, Ford stepside pickup, a hulking RCA television in the bed and its stand, then helped a couple of guys pull it from his truck.
"That TV's got a great picture," he told them as they muscled it across the parking lot and into the maw of a building abuzz with activity.
He's a big recycler, but this is his first trip to Blue Star.
The nonprofit held its fourth Annual Community Recycling Event for 2013 America Recycles Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Part of the proceeds will go toward helping people with disabilities find jobs.
Hunter was there, he said, because "I don't want the environment to get screwed up."
"People just throw things everywhere and it's ridiculous," he said. "Fifty years ago, this city was clean. Now, it's terrible."
Hunter wasn't the only socially responsible recycler Saturday.
The line down of vehicles ran the length of Talamine Court to Cascade Avenue, then jogged south half way to Fillmore Street at about 10:30 a.m.
Earlier, the line was even longer, said Tony Fagnant, CEO of Qualtek Manufacturing Inc., founder and chairman of Blue Star.
On this day, Qualtek's chief executive was dressed in a sweatshirt and wearing gloves, helping people unload.
It was a recycling drive-by, where people drove up, volunteers helped them unload their vehicles and they were on their way,
"We didn't expect this big of a turnout," Fagnant said.
People showed up 45 minutes early and the line by 10 a.m. "reached all the way to the Kmart store," he said.
Blue Star CEO Bill Morris attributed the strong turnout in part was to the growing popularity of the event. Blue Star holds two recycling events a year, one in the spring.
Normally, he said, people pay 25 cents a pound to recycle. On this day, it was $10 per passenger vehicle and people were happy to take advantage of the deal.
"This is our best fall turnout ever," Morris said. "This is probably going to be an 800-car day."
That's significant, because the average turnout for previous fall events was between 200-400 cars.
Spring is usually the big draw, bringing in closer to 800 cars, he said.
"When you make it convenient and affordable, people really jump on it," he said.
Large televisions, including old console televisions the size of Buicks, were coming in droves.
Because Blue Star doesn't work with most glass, they will be shipped to a company in Minneapolis, Fagnant said.
The $10 doesn't cover the cost of recycling the televisions, he said.
But, "the good thing is it's not going to the landfill," Fagnant said.
Desktop computers is where the money is. They were inside the huge recycling building stacked at least six high.
A long table sits to the side, a pair of people with disabilities taking the components apart to be sold.
Kari Ross, Blue Star community outreach director, was stacking computers inside the warehouse.
She grunted as she raised one onto a stack of other desktops.
"I've probably lugged at least a couple dozen," she said.