Between 1992 and 2000 it is estimated that Canadians disposed of enough computers and monitors to fill 1,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. That doesnt include cell phones, printers, stereos, or any other kinds of electronic waste, or e-waste.
And while that sounds like a lot of garbage, its not the volume that is the main concern but the fact that most e-waste is toxic with ingredients like lead, mercury, bromine and cadmium among others.
Several companies and local governments have started to offer e-waste recycling programs, although they are mostly voluntary and you have to pay for the service.
This Saturday, Oct. 22, Sea to Sky communities, Carneys Waste Systems, AWARE, the Pemberton Rotary Club and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District are offering free electronic waste disposal to residents, accepting items like cell phones, pagers, televisions, audio-visual equipment, computers, computer monitors and CDs.
Marc Zurbuchen , the RMOW One-Tonne Challenge Co-ordinator, is helping to organize e-waste collection events in the corridor. Although his position is to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reducing e-waste from the waste stream will help to accomplish that goal.
"Recycing of our used electronic products instead of disposing of them into our landfills is an excellent way for everyone to meet their One-Tonne Challenge," he said. "In addition to preventing toxic substances from entering the natural environment, we are reducing our dependence on new materials manufactured from scratch. Doing so preserves natural resources and in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change."
All of the materials accepted on e-waste day will be shipped to Genesis Recycling in Vancouver, a certified company that recycles 100 per cent of e-waste with no export, incineration or prison labour.
The Whistler e-waste collection takes place in Day Skier Lot 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
In Pemberton the collection will take place at the SLRD offices on Aster Street from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In Squamish, collection takes place at the Carneys recycling facility in the Squamish Industrial Park, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The e-waste collection is for residents only. Businesses should contact Genesis Recycling at 604-607-1174.
For more information or to volunteer at an e-waste event, contact Marc Zurbuchen at 604-935-8456.