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& Landscape supply

Recycle Your Irrigation Controllers and Help Those with Autism

Earn $15 towards a New Hunter Pro-HC Controller when you bring your old controller to a participating Ewing branch!

July is Smart Irrigation Month! Members of the green industry from landscape contractors to manufacturers and distributors will take time to talk about water conservation, smart controllers and the benefits of the human side of a unique program kicked off here at Ewing six years ago.

Since 2015, our Irrigation Controller Recycling Program has been part of our sustainability and community outreach initiatives at Ewing. Along with partners Hunter Industries and Blue Star Recyclers, the program supports sustainable electronics waste management while providing employment opportunities for those with autism or other disabilities.

After the initial pilot program in 2015, we extended the program to 31 participating Ewing branches! In 2019 alone, we recycled 5,378 pounds of controllers. Our goal is to increase the amount to 11,000 pounds over the next four years, and that’s where you come in!

How the Program Works

Bins dedicated to the program are placed at participating branch locations. Check with your local Ewing branch ahead of time to verify their participation. Then when you replace an old controller, instead of throwing it away, bring it into the branch and place it in the bin. It’s that simple! The controllers we collect are shipped to Blue Star Recyclers and disassembled so the components can be recycled.

But that’s not all: for the month of July, Hunter Industries will sponsor $15 off your next controller for every one controller that you recycle! Simply bring your old controllers to a participating Ewing branch.

Why the Program is Unique

Over the past 10 years, Colorado-based Blue Star Recyclers has recycled 14 million pounds of electronics. Blue Star Recyclers hires those with autism and other disabilities based on their aptitude and attitude for the careful, detailed, repetitive work of recycling electronics and other materials.

Many of their employees come from the Cherry Creek School District’s Transition Program where young adults with special needs can learn Blue Star’s recycling process. Watch the video for real life testimonials from Blue Star’s employees.

The Big Picture Benefits

Wes Tackenberg, Branch Manager at Ewing McKinney, was part of the pilot program that helped Hunter to establish the blueprint for the controller recycling program.

“I was an early adopter for it,” Tackenberg said. “It’s great to give those with autism a way to participate in the work force and have a job and make money.” Tackenberg explained that starting a conversation is the first step. He makes a point of mentioning the program to customers who regularly buy controllers.

“I always ask what they’re going to do with the old ones,” he said. “I tell them, ‘You bring them in, and we’ll help recycle them. We’ll help you get them out of your truck.’ Nobody ever says no.”

Jeramy Webb, Branch Manager at Ewing North Tucson, attributes the success of the program at his branch to conversations he has with customers too. “We spent time at the beginning of the program talking it up.” Webb said that customers enjoy the discount when it’s available and that they enjoy helping others. Once they learn “it helps those with autism, they want to participate,” he said.

Webb added that it’s become a natural process at his branch for customers to bring in old controllers. “All of the regulars just do it. They know to bring them in.”

Kyle Luis, Branch Manager at Ewing Pinnacle Peak, explained that “it often gives our contractors a way to get rid of old material that would otherwise fill landfills with more waste.”

“The more we can help, the better!” Luis added. “It ties [into] our sustainable focus as a company and gives our team another chance to talk to our customers about why we have the program and its benefits.”

With active participation from landscape contractors, there’s the potential to double our efforts to help those with autism or other disabilities and keep more controllers out of landfills.

Along with Hunter and Blue Star Recyclers, we are proud to be part of this integrated approach to environmental sustainability. We look forward to continuing to participate and grow this program for many years to come. We hope you’ll join us! And don’t forget: for the month of July, Hunter Industries will sponsor $15 off your next controller for every one controller that you recycle!

For more information about the controller recycling program, visit our website or stop by your local Ewing branch today.

TAGS: Blue Star Recyclers, Recycling, Irrigation Controllers, Community Outreach, Controllers, Hunter, Sustainability, Recycle Irrigation Controllers