Real Leaders

Blue Star Recyclers

Ranking: 120

Industry: Recycling

Mission: A recycling center across three facilities that provides ethical electronics recycling as a way to create local jobs for people with developmental disabilities. The jobs they create reduce dependence upon government benefits and create new taxpayers and consumers who can contribute to local economies. Have created 50 jobs and recycled over 21 million pounds of electronics.

What 3 words best describe your company culture?

Fun Meaningful Work

What quote best exemplifies your company?

This is a quote from a mother of one of our first four employees at Blue Star Recyclers in 2009: “My son has been dependent on other people his entire life — for food, shelter, clothing, the works. When he comes to work at Blue Star you depend on HIM.”

How is your product or service having a positive social and/or environmental impact?

We produce a significant impact in both areas:

  • Social: 50 permanent, meaningful, and competitive jobs to date for people with disabilities.
  • Environmental: Over 23 million pounds of electronics ethically recycled to date, which has directly reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 32 million pounds, and diverted over 2 million pounds of hazardous/toxic materials from landfills and open space.

What is your company’s vision for the future?

In 2017 we set a long-term goal to expand our mission so that one day any person with a disability could find an opportunity for meaningful employment with their nearest recycler. At that time we had three recycling centers in Colorado. Today we have four in Colorado and one in Illinois, and our employment model is being replicated at 15 recyclers and organizations in the US and abroad. We plan to keep expanding until we reach our goal.

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