Valuable Dust Collectors
“We’re extremely proud to be leading the country in this area,” explains Ed Gugenheimer, CEO of the Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA). “Our province was the first to set up an electronics recycling program in 2004 and we now have six processing facilities – twice as many as some of the other regions.”
Due to our large collection network that has been established by partnering with municipalities, it’s attractive for recycling facilities to set up their business in Alberta.
Albertans are fortunate to have great coverage across the province with hundreds of collection site set up to accept their EOL electronics for recycling. In fact, 96 per cent of residents live no further than a 20 minute drive of a collection site.
Working together, municipalities and Alberta Recycling are chipping away at the growing pile of dusty old electronics taking up valuable real estate in people’s basements and offices.
“The ‘hard to get’ (HTG) program was first introduced as a pilot project in 2015/16,” says Gugenheimer. “The intent was to draw out older electronics that may have been forgotten in storage rooms or had not been recycled for various reasons.”
Since its inception the HTG program has made a dent in end-of-life electronics recycling with over 11,000 electronic items collected for recycling. Other events like ‘School Round Ups’ are also sparking positive change. We’re expanding the reach of the program to allow other non-profit (i.e. sports organizations, community leagues) to participate in these events.
“Our electronics recyclers are quite creative in how they access old televisions, computer equipment, and printers. says Gugenheimer. “During a round up event, the school community and surrounding area are encouraged to bring in items for recycling. The school then earns funding based on the number of units collected.” One school division encouraged their students and communities to get involved by putting out a challenge to the participating schools and awarding those that collected the most material.
Not-for-profit groups are also getting in on the action by using these type of recycling drives as an eco-friendly fundraiser. “We’ve all witnessed the surge of new technology over the last few decades,” says Gugenheimer. “There’s literally no value in retaining these antiquated items. By bringing them into a facility, you’ll declutter, and pay if forward for a good cause and generations to come.