Computer recycling opportunity coming

  • Sep. 11, 2009 3:00 p.m.

by Heather Ramsay-Dig your old computers and printers out of the basement and dispose of them safely when the electronics drop-off event comes to town. Ron Kidd, the new islands solid waste operations manager, says this one-day event taking place on Sept. 26 in Queen Charlotte and Masset is a start for electronics recycling on the islands. Encorp professionals are coming with a truck and trailer and will be at Tickers Hauling in Queen Charlotte from 9 am to 1 pm and then at Driftech Mechanical Services in Masset from 3 pm to 6 pm, ready to take old desktop computers, computer monitors, laptops, printers and fax machines and televisions. No cell phones, stereos, CD players or DVD players will be accepted at this time. Since August 2007, a province-wide end-of-life electronics program has been available in BC, but islanders have not had access to any drop-off sites (the closest one is in Prince Rupert). Electronic waste can contain hazardous materials that could pose environmental problems in landfill sites and many of the materials in these products can be reclaimed and used again. The program is funded through an environmental handling fee charged when consumers buy new electronics. Even with the drop-off event, it’s not a perfect set up as folks from other communities will have to drive their items to either Queen Charlotte or Masset, but Mr. Kidd said the provincial regulations state that staff have to be trained in the proper storing and handling of electronics first. “If you drop a TV, the tube could explode,” he said, as an example of the safety concerns. He is planning to get his staff trained but for now, Encorp is sending trained people up. That said, he hopes everyone will make use of this service as it will help ensure that it might happen again. Mr. Kidd says folks should get used to the idea of recycling electronics because by July 2010 no items with cords will be accepted at the landfill. As for recycling in general, Mr. Kidd, who started as the on-island waste manager at the end of June, said he’s still trying to get things organized. He’s exploring options for getting recyclables off the island in a more efficient manner and he needs a storage facility for them as well. He’s looking at stockpiling some of the commodities whose prices have dropped substantially, like tin. Cardboard is also bringing in a low price, but because of the dampness here, it’s not feasible to store it. He’s been talking with other remote communities in BC and Alberta to see how they manage their recycling and has gotten a lot of good ideas. This electronics collection round-up is one way to make things work on the islands.