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.