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Hotchkiss ewaste event benefits more than the chamber

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Photo by Tamie Meck Eric Hollembeak adjusts a balance scale to weigh a microwave oven being discarded at the annual Hotchkiss Chamber of Commerce EWaste Event on April 22.

Who knew that an Amana Radarange microwave oven weighs almost 70 pounds?

One such item was among the approximately 13,868 pounds of electronic waste dropped off by about 165 people that participated in the annual Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce E-Waste recycling event held on Earth Day.

The event is an annual fundraiser for the chamber and is held in partnership with Double J Disposal in Austin and Recla Metals in Montrose. Hotchkiss Lions Club members once again helped with lifting and weighing items and collecting money. "It'd be really hard to do it without them," said chamber board president Nathan Sponseller.

People pay a per-pound fee to discard their items. Volunteers marveled at the flat screen televisions that just a few short years ago were considered state-of-the-art. One box contained a pre-1998 Polaroid Land Camera that still worked, an old turntable still had records on the spindle, and a Phillips respirator, several working and non-working IPhones, and an Android were among the items heading for the recycling center.

The event also allows for organizations to gain public attention and raise a few dollars, said Sponseller. Solar Energy International set up an information booth, and the Hotchkiss High School basketball team helped with heavy lifting. That came in handy on items like the 180-pound television a couple hauled down two flights of stairs and loaded in the back of their truck.

For each strong back contributed by the team, the HHS basketball program receives a donation. That money will help pay for summer basketball camps, said head coach and Lions Club member Eric Hollembeak.

Money raised by the chamber will go to the special projects fund, said Sponseller. The fund goes toward things like upkeep of the welcome signs at the entrances to town and the welcome center on Highway 92, and a current effort to create a facilities resource data base for the entire North Fork Valley. That project, said Sponseller, includes identifying places where community and public events can be held.

Sponseller said that participation in the fourth annual event was down from prior years, but that was to be expected as people continue to clear their homes and businesses of once-useful computers and household appliances. "That's the problem with a lot of this stuff," said Sponseller. "It's obsolete before you get it home."

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North Fork
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e-waste, Hotchkiss
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