With approval from the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA) initiated a new pilot project for recycling electronics.
For over 15 years, Albertans could only recycle televisions and computers, but now over two hundred gadgets have been added to the list.
“There are a lot of materials in those 200 items that can be reused, such as copper wire or ceramics which are highly valuable,” said ARMA chair, Caroline McAuley.
“People can find a second life for plastics, and there is also collection of the toxic products like lithium.”
Electronics that can now be recycled include small appliances, audio/visual, telecommunication devices, power and air tools, games, toys, music, and solar panels–basically anything with a cord or batteries.
Alberta Recycling says the program has the potential to add 360 additional full-time jobs with $30 million to Alberta’s economy. The project is expected to last two-years, and see an additional 24,600 tonnes of electronics recycled throughout that time.
Previously, monitors bigger than 30 inches were worth $10 a unit, while computer towers and printers were $4, and laptops a loonie, respectively.
The pilot project will monitor how many items come in, which items can best be recycled, and how much hazardous waste is being differed. From their findings, the ARMA will then create a permanent list.
The Vermilion River Regional Waste Commission oversees seven of over 400 collection sites across the province. Both town and county residents can start bringing in items and such as alarm clocks, cell phones, or weed wackers.
“We are not shipping the products out, but dismantling them at seven Alberta locations,” said McAuley.
She said by keeping tonnage down, it allows people to save the constant mining of new resources.
“Copper, steel, and glass can all be reused–the possibilities that can be made from an item are endless,” said McAuley.
She then gave an example of the positive spin off from recycling other used items such as tires.
“For example, roof integrity is one of the easiest ways to keep the structure of a building, so tires recycled in Alberta are made into shingles and sent as far as Trinidad and Tobago to protect against damage from hurricanes.”
The program began on September 1.