Make sure your old electronics don’t end up in the landfill

Written by Clayton Miller, eCycle Solutions
Clayton Miller works with eCycle Solutions, an electronic waste (e-waste) recycler that operates across Canada. eCycle has partnered with Living Planet @ Work on The Smart Office Challenge by helping [email protected] companies to host their own e-waste drives and schedule pick-ups too.
Clayton tells us more about the e-waste problem and why your company and community should host an e-waste drive this month.
I’m sitting in my favourite coffee shop looking out at the street scene unfolding before me. As people rush by I am struck by how many are hunched over their phones, totally oblivious to the world around them. Personal electronic devices (and electronics in general) have become ubiquitous in the past 20 years. The problem posed by the rapid obsolescence of the hardware we use is staring us right in the face: e-waste (electronic waste) is the fastest growing waste stream in the Western world.

 © e Cycle Solutions
© eCycle Solutions

As you read this, think about the amount of e-waste you may have had to dispose of recently.   In the last year, have you replaced any of the following:

  • Cell Phone or tablet
  • Desktop computer, laptop, or monitor
  • MP3 player, docking station or stereo
  • Printer, keyboard, mouse, router, or cloud server
  • TV, DVD Player or Blu-Ray Player

The problem with e-waste is twofold. First – metals and plastics don’t biodegrade, so once they end up in landfill they stay there forever. Second, electronics often contain hazardous materials such as lead and mercury. If improperly disposed of, these heavy metals can leach into groundwater and the wider environment.
So how do you dispose of your electronics in a way that respects your privacy while protecting the environment? If you’re a private citizen seeking to recycle that old VCR collecting dust in the basement – you can drop it (or any electronics device for that matter) off at any Best Buy, Future Shop or Staples store in Canada for free recycling. Last year households across Canada disposed of over 13 million pounds of electronics via this convenient and no charge service.
If you work for a corporation and want to do something about e-waste, check out The Smart Office Challenge, brought to you by WWF-Canada and HP Canada. The campaign aims to engage employees in reducing the energy and waste footprint of office IT. One of the challenges is an e-waste collection to bring awareness to the issue and encourage responsible recycling in the office.

© eCycle Solutions
© eCycle Solutions

If you’re interested in organizing a company e-waste collection as part of your Smart Office Challenge, we’ve got a great offer for you! eCycle Solutions has offered to pick up your e-waste for free. Companies like eCycle can properly recycle anything with a plug. They recycle electronics in a manner which respects the environment, the health and safety of their workers and the security of the data that may be contained on these devices.
So, next time your phone dies, your computer crashes or your monitor goes caput, give some thought to the best way to dispose of it properly. As you’ve read above, there are options. So take advantage of them! Happy recycling!
To learn more about how to organize your company’s e-waste drive and to organize a free pick-up from eCycle, download The Smart Office Challenge toolkit.