This chart displays the results of electronics recycling over the last three years. The total amount processed in 2020/21 decreased by 20% over the prior year. A significant contributor to this decrease was the launch of the e-pilot project in Sept. 2020 which saw registered processors temporarily reduce the processing of program material in order to process stockpiles of pilot material.
Chart note: Recovery rate measures the amount processed as a percent of the amount purchased.
Collection and recycling of electronics
R&D; Program awareness
Costs to deliver the program
This year ARMA held over 125 virtual meetings and dialogues with stakeholders in the fields of industry, post-secondary institutions, municipal and provincial governments, and Indigenous relations, creating/supporting opportunities for innovation and expansion of existing and future programs.
Some of the subject matter included a ‘made-in-Alberta’ plastics solution, exploring different EPR models, and collaborations on various development opportunities with other provincial recycling programs and organizations.
Municipalities and Indigenous communities are key partners on the front line of the program. They manage 361 electronics recycling depots that were deemed an essential service during the COVID pandemic.
Each site is reviewed annually, with ARMA field staff assisting site operators to ensure they are maximizing the tools available to them through the program.
Additionally, 33 Recycling Roundups were held this year. These are special community events that provide an additional opportunity for Albertans to recycle over and above the year-round depots.
In September 2020, a two-year e-pilot project approved by government was launched. This project could see an additional 24,600 tonnes of electronics recycled with the potential to inject $30 million GVA (Gross Value Added) annually into Alberta’s economy and create 360 FTE (Full Time Equivalency) in the recycling sector.
Municipalities and Indigenous communities, who were excited to divert more electronics from their landfills, responded strongly to the e-pilot by registering over 275 depots to accept an additional 500 types of electronics devices in six categories: small appliances, audio visual, telecom, power & air tools, games, toys and music, lawn & garden. This has resulted in 1,286 tonnes processed to date.
Innovation is a cornerstone of ARMA’s vision of Inspiring a Future Without Waste and this is evident in the e-pilot with our approach to addressing solar panels. There is currently no program in North America for the reuse or recycling of this product. Our working group, comprised of industry experts, seeks to change that and establish Alberta as a leader by confirming handling methods for solar panels.
This is just one example of the project’s positive impact on our environment. These before-and-after photos illustrate a stockpile of e-pilot material stored at a registered recycler’s facility prior to the project (ensuring it wouldn’t be landfilled) Once the e-pilot was launched, the registered processors were able to process just over 3,375 tonnes of stockpiled devices.
Registered recyclers pick up TVs and computer products from businesses and institutions and from 361 recycling depots across the province. They transport the material back to their facilities (all located in Alberta) where they break down each item, separating the materials into metals, plastic and glass. These commodities are then shipped back into the manufacturing supply chain. Following are results from the past three years, revealing a year-over-year decrease in glass and plastic which could be indicative of a decrease in cathode-ray-tube TVs and monitors available for recycling.
Since 2004, 14,412 tonnes of hazardous material has been safely and properly handled during the recycling process. Following are results from the past three years showing some of the substances of concern diverted from the landfill.
ARMA oversees end-of-life processing of tires, electronics, paint and used oil materials on behalf of the province. Since 1992, ARMA has worked with a broad spectrum of stakeholders to shape recycling policy, create a value-added processing system, minimize waste entering landfills and to act as collective stewards of Alberta’s environment.
Inspiring a Future Without Waste