By: Stephanie Petrashko
Rapid changes in technology and frequent obsolescence of old technologies have resulted in a significant and fast-growing surplus of electronic equipment (“e-waste”) – including computers, televisions, cell phones and tablets – worldwide. Within five years, the volume of e-waste around the world is expected to grow by 33%, yet up to 90% of electronic components can be recycled (Ontario Electronic Stewardship, 2013).
Environmentally friendly disposal of old equipment may involve finding another use for it (such as charitable donations), having the equipment safely dismantled for reuse in other products, or sending it to a registered recycling facility for proper disposal.
Why do we need good practices for disposal? Environmentally sound management of e-waste helps to protect the environment and human health, while leading to economic benefits through resource recovery. Electronic equipment contains toxins and carcinogens, including lead and mercury, that can have harmful effects on our environment if not disposed of properly. Unfortunately, 85% of e-waste is sent to landfills or incinerated, which releases the toxins and carcinogens into our soil, water systems and atmosphere. Not surprisingly, exposure to them has adverse effects on our health and wildlife.
Meanwhile, each year, the average Canadian generates 25 kg of e-waste and approximately 140,000 tonnes of e-waste ends up in our landfills (StEP Initiative, 2014).
So, what can you do to mitigate the environmental impact of e-waste?
We send all of our clients’ unwanted electronic equipment to Eco-Tech Recycling, a Waterloo-based e-waste removal service with drop-off locations in Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, Fergus, Elmira and St. Clements. Eco-Tech does not charge for its drop-off services and accepts almost all electronic equipment for disposal (you can view a full list of accepted items here: http://www.eco-techrecycling.com/programs.php). If you have any appliances for disposal that are not accepted by Eco-Tech, you can learn how you can properly dispose of them here.
Eco-Tech works with several partners to re-direct all electronic waste for recycling. The company also protects your privacy by destroying the sensitive data that’s stored on your hard drive, smart phone or other storage device.
If you’re a client with us and have any electronic equipment that you are looking to dispose of, please let us know and we’d be happy to drop by to pick it up for removal. If you’re not a client with us, you can find an Eco-Tech drop-off location at www.eco-techrecycling.com/sites.php or visit www.recycleyourelectronics.ca to find another e-waste removal facility near you.