It seems that the ubiquitous e-waste is going to come second on the list of “what’s in our garbage bins” (second only to our ever-growing plethora of broken dishes).
So far we have a laptop, a cell phone, a battery charger, and numerous wires and plug in type things crowding for bin space.
We all know that e-waste is technically recyclable, but did you know that only a small percentage of broken electronics actually gets salvaged?
British Columbia is phasing in a program to recycle pretty much anything with a cord or a battery. The new definition os e-waste isn’t that it has to be “electronic”, just that it has to be “electric”.
According to an article in the Nanaimo Bulletin (where I snagged the photo from), that means everything from tvs and computers to digital cameras, coffee grinders, and even power tools can go to one of the 93 depots around the province. And the best part is that the manufacturers are the ones ultimately responsible for the recycling.
Apparently the depots are already collecting over 1,000 tonnes a month. It’s great that there is so much landfill diversion going on, and I’m truly happy that our dead e-waste might enjoy a reincarnation; however, 1,000 tonnes is a lot of stuff.
According to this article, “85 percent of e-waste goes in landfills”. If I do some rough math and apply that to the recycling depot numbers, that means that over 5,000 tonnes of e-waste is going to the landfill each month. In BC alone!
I’m wondering how much of that e-waste is actually still functioning, but considered obsolete? or worse, just unattractive? I’m wondering if people really try to re-home their e-waste before they recycle it? I ‘m wondering what those people overseas think about when they are picking apart toxic chemicals from our discarded computers and xboxes?
Don’t get me wrong, recycling is a great, great thing, and it’s much better than sending crap to the landfill. I just wish there was a more sustainable option like a compostable computer case or a cellphone that was actually made to last for 50 years instead of 2.