Recycling day helps safely dispose of junk electronics

Troy Shantz

The Bluewater Lions is hosting a recycling day on April 27 for residents to dispose of old TVs, computers and other electronic junk.

If you can’t make it, volunteers will even come pick it up.

But what happens to previously loved keyboards and smart phones? Especially now that China has banned imports of foreign waste, including electronics.

Hundreds of tonnes of e-waste are trucked out of Sarnia every year, said Philip Horwood of Premier Recycling, the firm partnering with the Lions.

Premier is one of several local participants in Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES), an industry-led nonprofit that ensures e-waste is disposed of safely and responsibly.

Whenever you buy a new printer or notebook at the store a small fee is added to the purchase price (and noted on the receipt). That fee covers the cost of collecting and disposing of used electronics, Horwood said.

The waste gathered locally is shipped to a depot and then to e-waste processors in the Toronto area.

Anything of value is extracted, including gold, platinum, copper and lead, said Horwood.

“There’s a very small amount of precious metal that comes out of these things. Miniscule amounts, but high value metal.”

Much of the rest is ground up into pellets.

Extracted materials of value are put back into the manufacturing supply chain. The goal of the OES is to divert electronics from landfill and it being exported illegally to other parts of the world.

Horwood estimates his company hauls 300 tonnes of e-waste out of Sarnia annually, and some years it’s been double that.

“When the program started four or five years ago it was crazy,” he said. “One would never imagine the amount of TV, Hi-Fis and what-have-you in people’s basements.”

All the collected electronics are destroyed so there’s no chance your old laptop will be refurbished and resold, he said.

The Bluewater Lions earn a small fee through the recycling event, which supports various charitable projects, said club member Murray Sutherland.

Last year’s event raised about $500, he said.

 

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Electronic Waste Day, hosted by the Bluewater Lions Club of Sarnia

WHEN: Saturday, April 27, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

WHERE: Premier Recycling, 325 Gladwish Dr. (off Plank Road)

ACCEPTED ITEMS: Computers, printers, CD-ROM drives, fax machines, laptops, radios, speakers, phones, keyboards, etc.

MORE: For questions, or to have items picked up at your home, email msutherland3@cogeco.ca