Skip Navigation LinksHome > Moving Guide > Green Moving > Disposing of Electronics

Disposing of Electronics: Green Ways of Combating E-Waste

While technology becomes obsolete at an increasingly rapid rate, with technological fads coming and going as fast as you can “tweet” about it, the e-waste that fills our landfills to greater and greater capacity every year isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Electronic waste or “e-waste” refers to any electronic devices which have been discarded due to advancements in technology, fashion, or because they are nearing the end of their useful life. This covers everything from computer parts to microwave ovens to smoke alarms. Environment Canada reports that 140,000 tonnes of e-waste are discarded every year in Canadian landfills, a number which increases every year.

The plastic encasings and metallic insides that make electronics work turn into non-biodegradable e-waste once they are tossed out and often exported to China, India, and developing nations. As a result, an e-waste industry has developed as people mine the discarded devices for their valuable elements, including copper, silver, and gold. Unfortunately, not only are electronics mostly composed of non-biodegradable materials, but they contain toxic elements, such as mercury, lead, arsenic and chromium, all of which are known or suspected to harm wildlife and human health. Furthermore, the caustic acids and burning methods used to dismantle old electronics pose serious environmental and health risks for communities that rely on the e-waste industry for income.

On top of all the materials sent to landfills, some researches estimate that over 75% of all electronic devices are in fact in storage, due in no small part to the uncertainty of how to manage the materials. Sound familiar? Here are some ideas on how to get rid of those electronic elephants in your rooms that you or your housemates have been trying to ignore:

Sell
Remember, for one person, “keeping up with modern technology” may mean that its time to buy simple a computer, not necessarily the latest and fanciest one. One person’s “junkmail” of electronic devices is another person’s technological treasure! Try selling your items on sites like Ebay or Craigslist. Thinking green and making green are not mutually exclusive.

Donate
If you would prefer to donate your computer to a charitable organization, there are many available, many of which will pick up your computer for free. Industry Canada's Computers for Schools program is one such option, another is Electronic Recycling Association, a non-profit organization, collects old computers for donations and recycling. They accept computers, monitors, laptops, printers, and accessories and have drop off depots and pick-up services.. You can also donate to thrift stores like Salvation Army, provided the computers are in decent working condition.

Trade-In”
You can also check if your retailer offers buyback or trade-in options, which are gaining increasing popularity in all technological fields. At many stores you can trade in your old equipment to earn cash or credit towards the purchase of new hardware from the same store.

E-Cycle companies
For a hassle-free solution to e-waste, enlist the services of e-cycling companies that provide pickup and disposal services for old electronic equipment. Some of these companies do charge a small fee, however, they will wipe any hard drives as needed and either sell your equipment for you or donate it to charity.

How can you avoid amassing such waste in the future? There are a few easy ways you can plant seeds for an e-friendly future:

  1. Consider buying pre-owned goods. Not only will this save you a pretty penny, but it will save you from being a corporate puppet, programmed to bite every time a new, oh, lets just say, apple is offered up by a corporate snake. Fight the man, not mankind!
  2. Keep your devices longer. Instead of buying a new computer, save money and cut waste by upgrading your current one. For example, you can increase your computer’s memory (RAM) or replace its hard drive or battery. Also, though it may take some effort convincing your teenager of the fact, you do not need to buy a new phone every year, as most will work for 5. If it is time to buy a new phone, you can celebrate the green in your Christmas colours with pride by giving your kids one of the many snazzy “green phones” now available on the market, made with a very limited amount of hazardous chemicals and materials.

Now you’re fully equipped to be a lean, green, e-waste combating machine! We can’t stop the advancement of technology, but we can do our best to stop the perpetuation of excessive e-waste.

Are you moving?

Fill out the simple form below to get up to five quotes from licensed moving companies.

Name:
Phone:
Email:
Move Size:
From Zip/PC

Find Postal Code

City:

Province/State:

Country:


or Cancel
(Find):
To Zip/PC

Find Postal Code

City:

Province/State:

Country:


or Cancel
(Find):
Move Date: