Monday, January 31, 2011

Recycling electronics in Ottawa

First of all - wow, it had been so long since I last blogged that I forgot my username. Took about 10 mins trying various combinations to remember it!

Basically, I blame the puppy - who knew they were so much work?! ;-) Speaking of Henry, thanks to all the folks who left comments on my last blog post. We are going to install an in-ground dog waste composter in the spring. Turns out they have to be something like 15 feet from any food crops. I have no spot that is 15 feet from food crops in the back yard! So it will have to go in the front. Although we are pretty sure where all the lines are (gas, water etc.), we will be sure to get the city to mark everything before we start digging!

Ok, so, recycling electronics. We all know that putting waste electronics in the garbage is a really bad idea. Once in landfills they leak all sorts of nasties like heavy metals into the water table and surrounding ground. But it is also important to make sure that when recycling electronics, the company is reputable and does not ship waste electronics overseas (making our garbage someone else's problem - namely children who sort and take it apart under dangerous conditions).

What does this mean for you? Well basically it means you will have to pay to recycle your electronics.

The good news is that the cost is very small. AND if you live in some provinces in Canada, some of your electronic waste is recycled for free. Participating provinces include: Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia and PEI. I know that in Ontario, you can recycle: computers, monitors, tvs, and dvd players all for free. Here is a full list of the electronic waste that can be recycled for free in Ontario.

There are lots of recycling companies that are part of the Ontario program but the only place I take my electronic waste is Computer Recyclers Ottawa. I just love this company. Not only are the folks there some of the friendliest you'll meet, but they insist on complete reclamation here in North America. They never ship electronic waste overseas or to landfills.

Also, they take EVERYTHING. As an example, here are the things I took there this weekend:

  • 2 old computer towers

  • 1 monitor

  • 1 broken mouse

  • 1 teddy bear with electronics in it - you can record your voice and then have it "talk". The roommates and I used to record it saying various obscenities ;-)

  • a number of old RW cds and software

  • a broken lamp

  • broken headphones

  • a broken toaster oven

  • a broken dvd player

  • + more I'm forgetting

Not only did they take all that, they also took all the packaging and ensured me that it would be properly recycled.

The best part? With the computer stuff and dvd player being recycled for free, the total cost to recycle all my electronics was $6.75.

Small price to pay I think.

**Note: I should have mentioned that just because a lot of electronic waste is recycled for free in Ontario, this does not mean that it is included as part of garbage collection. Do not put this stuff on the curb. You have to take it to one of the affiliated recycling centres around town. As I mentioned above, I use Computer Recyclers Ottawa.