Workers with autism find jobs at Denver electronics recycling company

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DENVER -- Recycling electronics is good for protecting the environment and your identity, but a new recycler in Denver goes a step further. BlueStar Recylcers is hiring people who often have a very hard time finding work.

The new BlueStar Recyclers facility in Denver accepts electronics cast aside by society, and employees help extend the life of the disassembled parts and the environment.

"If that tube gets into a landfill and breaks, it will leach lead indefinitely," said Bill Morris, CEO of BlueStar Recyclers.

"This way I kind of know that this stuff is not getting into the environment," said Neal Anthony who works at the facility.

Anthony says he is proud of his work disassembling and recycling computers, but he's also thankful for the opportunity.

"It's sometimes a challenge locating jobs that hire,” Anthony said. “Especially somebody like me."

Anthony and his co-workers have autism, but at a time when roughly 90 percent of his peers are unemployed in Colorado, BlueStar is hiring.

"When they get an opportunity to work, they knock it out of the park," Morris said.

Bill Morris opened the first BlueStar Recyclers in Colorado Springs five-and-a-half years ago, after discovering how those with autism thrived with this important but repetitive work. The effort was so successful they opened a Denver Location last month.

"We've had no absenteeism, no turnover and no lost time accidents in an industry where that's very difficult to accomplish," Morris said.

"I like this job," said Jack Ryan, another BlueStar employee. "I am a hard worker."

That’s also why BlueStar continues to expand. A few weeks ago Fort Collins based Otterbox signed a contract to bring in their defective cell phone cases for recycling. The contract allows BlueStar to offer paid internships to former students of Jefferson County Public Schools.

"My goal is to get my own place and keep working,” said Mikey Quintana, who is an intern through Jeffco Transition Services. “Live life more."

"Our hope is that, when they move off the (cell phone) cases, they can move to computer disassembly," Morris said.

BlueStar currently has eight employees, but Morris said they hope to have 20 by the end of the year. Bill said they also hope to show other employers why, like the electronics, these employees should never be cast aside.

"They are the best employees and the best co-workers I've ever had," Morris said.

BlueStar Recyclers is currently taking in all kinds of electronics for recycling in Denver. Click here for more information on hours, location and recycling fees.

 

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