Batteries, old cords, broken screens, and more; electronic waste can add up in any Canadian home or business. Statistics show that there has been an increasing number of e-waste items being dumped in landfills or disposed of in other inappropriate ways. When this happens, it presents a risk to the environment, sustainability, and human health. These electronic products can leak hazardous materials into the environment, which can make its way into our water systems. This presents a danger to marine life, and to the water supplies for people.
A recent report from the Global E-Waste Monitor notes that advances in technology have led to shorter life spans for consumer electronics. Some statistics show that in Canada we replace our smartphones every two years. That creates a lot of e-waste. Moreover, the report also notes that many areas have seen an increase in disposable household income. That means there is more money to be spent on electronic products. Again, this leads to a rise in e-waste items.
These two factors have led to 44.7 million metric tonnes of e-waste being produced around the world each year. That number is expected to rise to 52.2 million metric tonnes over the next year. That’s equal to over six kilograms of e-waste per person. However, countries like Canada are some of the worst e-waste producers. The report indicates the numbers are closer to 20 kilograms of e-waste for each Canadian. It has become a major issue that there are now provincial laws in place to help manage e-waste. Given the growing problem of electronic waste in our country and our world, it is important that consumers do their part to promote e-waste recycling to keep the environment and our landfills clean.
Ways Your E-Waste can be Recycled
Our electronics are made up of several different parts. Many of these parts can be recycled and reused. Here are a few ways that you can help protect the environment and ensure that e-waste stays out of the landfills.
- Drop-off locations: Depending on where you live, you may be able to drop your e-waste item off at a local store such as Best Buy or Staples. If your device is still functioning, you may be able to trade it in for some money or store credit. For example, Staples’ trade-in program can pay you for a device that can be refurbished. Yet, if your e-waste item is broken, damaged, or unable to be reused, you can still drop it off, but you are not likely going to get any money for it. In addition to taking your unwanted devices, some Best Buy stores also have a box where you can discard your used batteries. By dropping off your old and used batteries into recycling boxes like this, you can help prevent toxic e-waste from ending up in landfills. While electronic stores take any of your unwanted e-waste items, Apple has a special recycling program for its line of products. You should contact your local Apple store to see if they can take your used iPad or iPhone. Don’t forget to erase any of the data on your device before you recycle it. This can help keep you safe from potential fraud or identity theft.
- Send-back programs: Some electronic manufacturers offer send-back programs. These are initiatives that allow customers to send back their used items to prevent them from collecting in garbage dumps and landfills. These companies then reuse the components in the e-waste devices to create new gadgets. You can contact your products’ manufacturer to see if they offer a send-back program.
- Hire a professional: Recycling your e-waste can be a time-consuming process and not everyone has the ability to invest the effort that is needed. This is where professional e-waste recycling services like those offered by Junk Works can help. We understand the importance of keeping these electronic items out of landfills. That is why we are proud to say that we recycle 100 percent of the e-waste items that we collect. No matter what type or size of electronic items you have, we’ll take it. We know that it takes a lot of effort to make just a single computer. So, it’s important that we ensure that investment doesn’t go to waste.
- Donate: Charities around the country will accept e-waste donations. However, your electronic item should be in good working condition. The initiative allows unwanted electronics to be reused by community groups and schools. Some even donate the items to those less fortunate who may not be able to afford to buy a device on their own. One benefit of donating your unwanted e-waste items to charity is that you can use your receipt as a tax deduction.
- Buy wisely: In Canada, we love our electronic devices and gadgets. Research has found that there are over 30 million mobile subscribers in the country. The reality is that many of us have more than one device. As consumers, it is a wise decision to buy electronic items that will last several years. We can all make an effort to use our smartphones, tablets, and laptops a little longer rather than discarding them for the latest model.
Canada is one of the biggest e-waste producers in the world and it’s important to be sure our e-waste is recycled. Research has found that the number of e-waste items piling up at landfills is growing to problematic levels. This presents a danger to the environment, sustainability, and human health. Through a few extra steps like dropping off our e-waste items for recycling, buying less, and seeking the help of professional removal services, we can all do our part to promote healthy e-waste habits.