Running that old, broken-down treadmill to the local landfill can be a thing of the past now that the province has ramped up its electronics recycling program.
ElectroRecycle, the small appliance program which at one time only took items like toasters and televisions, has expanded its list of accepted product categories to include power tools, sewing machines and exercise machines.
The non-profit program is funded by category-specific recycling fees charged on all new electronic merchandise purchased. For example, a new microwave bigger than one cubic foot will come with a $10 recycling fee, while the fee for a hair dryer, iron or handheld vacuum will run $1.
Once an electrical product is dropped off to a designated ElectroRecycle location, it is then taken to processors within Canada and separated into different materials to be recycled.
The separated products are sold as commodities and used to manufacture new products.
In Ladysmith, the designated drop-off for such items is at the Peerless Road Recycling Depot and at Junction Bottle Depot.
“Before, we were taking microwaves; now we’re taking tools and sewing stuff and small appliances,” said bottle depot manager Sharon Chomeckzo. “We’re getting tons of electronics — every day, we get TVs.”
Junction Bottle Depot owner Sang Kim said the response from the public since the program expansion has been overwhelmingly positive, but there may be residents out there that aren’t aware of it.
“Everybody’s happy because everybody wins,” he said.
ElectroRecycle, formerly known as Unplugged, was first launched across B.C. on Oct. 1, 2011, and it is managed by the Canadian Electrical Stewardship Association (CESA).
“We are very pleased to expand ElectroRecycle and provide British Columbians with a comprehensive and convenient recycling program,” said Darrell Clarke, president of CESA. “Now with an expanded list of accepted product categories and a province-wide network of convenient drop-off locations, most British Columbians can responsibly and effectively recycle more of their household electrical products as part of their regular routine.”
A program press release states that recycling plastic, glass, metal and aluminum through ElectroRecycle offers a number of environmental benefits, such as saving energy. For example, it takes 95 per cent less energy to recycle aluminum, 74 per cent less energy to recycle steel and 30 per cent less energy to recycle glass.
Over the past year, British Columbians have diverted nearly 20,000 metric tonnes of electronics, 40,000 tonnes of tires and more than one billion non-alcoholic beverage containers from landfills.