Free appliance recycling a hit

Published 11:32 am Monday, September 12, 2011

Hundreds of computers, TVs, microwaves and other appliances fill the Riverland parking lot during the fourth annual RE-fest. It was the first year appliances were recycled at the event.

Austin is becoming more conscious of the environment every year.

Riverland Community College hosted its fourth annual RE-fest, and the event has gotten more popular each year. Hoards of people were on Riverland’s campus to see eco-friendly cars, water purifiers, light bulbs, rain barrels, books, air conditioners and furnaces and many other new, green items.

Ken Smith of All-American Segway in Rochester, demos his Segway scooter during the fourth annual RE-fest in Austin on Saturday.

Perhaps the most popular aspect of this year’s event was a free appliance-recycling drive. Families continuously passed through Riverland’s parking lot and parted ties with old microwaves, computers, TVs and other household appliances. Just a few hours into the event, the parking lot was already filling up with mountains of items, which 5R recycling company placed on pallets, shrink wrapped and loaded into trucks, so its employees could strip still-valuable materials from them.

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Students and other locals helped with the entire event, and some have been attending the event every year.

“We want to see what’s new and see what’s eco-friendly, so hopefully he can have a nice world to grow up in,” said Karen Hart of Austin, referring to her son’s future.

She and her family have attended all four RE-fests. The activities are enjoyable for her son — as he got to make a windmill this year — and intriguing for Hart.

“It’s always nice to see what’s new and see what ideas we maybe haven’t thought of,” she said.

The event drew in another newcomer, Ken Smith of All American Segway in Rochester. Smith’s Segways, which were on hand for demo, are battery-operated scooters that can travel quickly and go as far as 24 miles on one charge.

Smith mentioned some good news, and said RE-fest is catching on in other communities, he’s noticed; and Rochester is following by example each year, too.