Fee charged, recycling service not provided

  • Nov. 3, 2008 7:00 p.m.

Port Clements elementary school principal Claudette Lavoie got a surprise when she tried to recycle 20 old computers the school didn’t need any more. Even though there has been an electronics recycling program in place across BC for more than a year, and even though islanders pay a fee like everyone else when they purchase new computer equipment, printers or televisions, Ms Lavoie was told she had to toss the computers in the landfill because the program is not available here. (The school did give away as many computers as it could before attempting to recycle the remainder.) Not a great lesson in environmental stewardship. The provincial government started the electronic recycling program because computers, monitors and televisions contain metals and other hazardous materials that can damage the environment if not recycled properly. All consumers pay a fee when they buy new electronic equipment and these fees fund the recycling system. Fees range from $5 for a notebook computer to $45 for a large television. There is no charge for dropping off old equipment. Regional district administrator John Holland said Encorp Pacific, the company that runs the recycling program, approached the regional district about setting up a depot on the islands. “They have discussed it with us,” he said. “But the issue from our point of view is the lack of space to store it… We don’t have the space to handle it.” The closest depot to the islands is Prince Rupert, where the regional district’s landfill site does have room. Ms Lavoie has other concerns about the way the islands recycling program is running, and said it has been a topic of discussion in the staff room. More and more islanders want to recycle, yet the blue bins in each community are not designed to take large volumes or to work well with the truck that picks up the material, she said. “The regional district should get on this and deal with this issue,” she said. “I think with a little organization, the system could be much more productive.”

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