Dysart one of top five e-waste collectors 0
When it comes to recycling electronics, Haliburtonians are among the best in the province.
The municipalities of Algonquin Highlands and Dysart et al take the No. 2 and No. 4 positions respectively for recycling per household, according to Ontario Electronic Stewardship.
"Haliburton's done terrifically well," said OES executive director Jonathan Spencer.
"From our perspective, it's a testimony to how much buy-in there is locally," he said.
OES is a non-profit organization that co-ordinates electronics pick up from landfills and helps with community "e-waste" recycling events.
Last week, it celebrated a major milestone with 100,000 tonnes of e-waste collected since the organization was founded in April 2009.
According to OES, Algonquin Highlands has contributed 32.55 kilograms of waste electronics per household while Dysart collected 29.82 kilograms per household.
"Statistics like these are very encouraging for us," Spencer said.
While larger cities collect greater volumes of waste, the amount per capita shows that education and outreach are working, the director says.
Dysart public works director Brian Nicholson agrees.
"We're trying to make it easier. We got into some educational stuff, information, promotion to get the word out there that we can do this," he said.
He credited the good recyclers for preserving the life of the landfill and helping Dysart's coffers.
"We get money back [from the e-waste]. That's a source of revenue for us," he said.
He pointed out that the longer the landfill can be used, the better it is for all taxpayers.
"I have to take my hat off to those who are utilizing the service. The longer they can save that landfill, that's money in their pockets," he said.
Algonquin Highlands's waste reduction co-ordinator Gayle Short thinks the landfill itself acts as an education piece.
"It's hard up here getting the message out. Because we are cottage country everyone lives everywhere," she said. "Our best advertising is at the landfill sites and the recycling depots."
Short's municipality started the e-waste program in July of 2009 and has diverted 60 tonnes of materials between then and the end of 2011.
"It makes you wonder how much went into the landfill before this program came along," she said.
Products such as cellphones and televisions often have useful materials in them, even if they no longer work.
On their website, OES uses copper as an example of how useful e-waste recycling can be.
According to their information, 14 tonnes of e-waste will produce one tonne of copper.
That one tonne of copper can then be used to make 5,000 new cellphones.
Electronics collected by OES are stripped of useful pieces and then properly processed. Spencer said the items with personal information in them such as computers and cellphones are destroyed so information cannot be recovered from them.
He still advises that individuals erase all files before bringing the units to the landfill.
While most of us have old stereos, TVs and computers sitting around home, many of us don't think (or want) to bring them in.
Among the reasons people choose not to recycle their electronics, lack of motivation, knowledge of drop-off points and cost topped the list.
Cost shouldn't be a factor in Haliburton, however, as the service is free.
"It's just one extra stop. Three minutes and you're done," Nicholson said.
Spencer credits the local politicians and municipal staff for motivating people to recycle their e-waste.
"We really do thank the community leaders throughout Haliburton for supporting our program," he said.
OES is encouraging people to sign their 100,000 tonne pledge. Go to recycleyourelectronics.ca/ecyclepledge for more.
There is also a service on their website where you can locate the closest drop-off for electronic waste: recycleyourelectronics.ca.