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Adventures in Recycling

Electronics Recycling in Greater HartfordThis past Saturday’s electronics recycling event in West Hartford was a big hit. Traffic was at a virtual standstill for blocks around the Public Works facility off Oakwood Ave, where the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) set up their collection point. People waited for over an hour to get rid of their old tvs, computers, dvd players, and all sorts of other random junk.

I made the mistake of trying to sneak in just before they closed at 1:00. At first I thought the long line of cars backed up New Park Ave past Flatbush was due to an accident or some random car trying to make a left turn. But when I cruised down the right lane, and approached the intersection with Oakwood, the cops directing traffic made it clear that all of these people were actually waiting in line.

Unable to make the turn onto Oakwood, my next idea was to sneak around to the event the back way – through Hartford. The plan was good in theory, since nobody was approaching the Public Works from that direction, though it failed in practice. Access was blocked by aggressive use of traffic cones, again making it impossible to join the queue. I was forced to backtrack up Oakwood Ave until I found an acceptable place to join the line.

It was now about 12:30, and the recycling event was scheduled to last until 1:00. As soon as I got into line, the whole thing stopped moving. Five minutes … ten minutes … fifteen minutes … nothing. Then the truck in front of me shifted out of park, through reverse, to drive. We crept forward about half a car length. Then it was back to park.

By 1:00 I had still not made it into the Public Works facility, which only started about 400 yards away. In the first good break of my adventure, they decided to keep the event open for all the cars in line by 1:00. I didn’t know this at the time, but it seemed like a safe assumption when 1:15 came and went and I was neither inside nor chased away by someone official.

I finally made it inside at about 1:30. There was a crew of probably 15 guys working through the rain to haul junk out of a never-ending line of cars. Much of it was tossed into the trailer of an 18-wheeler to be taken away and processed. TVs were piled precariously on pallets and secured in plastic wrap. They were also shredding paper in a different area.

The event collected an incredible amount of electronic junk. It was scary how much there was, but at the same time wonderful to see that so many people made the effort to recycle rather than getting rid of it in some other way. Keep an eye out for future opportunities to recycle electronics. They have been held at least twice a year in the area, and the current schedule can always be found on the CRRA website.

One final word of advice – plan to go early.

  1. Eric

    I got there with toddler in tow right at 9am and had exactly this experience, making a right than immediate U-turn on New Park avenue (since the left turn was impossible) to join the lengthening line. Other than almost running out of food / drink and entertainment for the little one it was a satisfying sight. Easily enough demand for 2 of these per year.

  2. Kyle

    Wow, bonus points for waiting out the line with the little one! And now we know that going early is not the answer either, so hopefully the CRRA will schedule collections more often. I think it would make sense to do one in January so that people can safely get rid of all their old gear that was updated over the holidays.

  3. Brooks

    Hopefully the State will finally enact regulations on the Electronics Recycling Law that was passed over 2 year ago. Once these regulations are enacted by DEP, every resident in Connecticut will have access to some type of regular electronics recycling program, managed or organized by their Town. More information will be available shortly. The latest estimate of having the program in place is July of 2010, but this deadline has already been delayed twice before, so I wouldn’t hold your breath. More information can be found here:

  4. Greater Hartford Real Estate Blog » Electronics Recycling 2010

    […] While we’re in public service announcement mode, let’s also do one about electronics recycling since that turned out to be an ordeal at the end of last year. […]