Families are becoming more reliant on technology to get through life nowadays. I remember when we wrote letters and called to stay in touch with people, read the morning newspaper to catch up on what was happening in the world, and either wrote out or clacked away on a typewriter to write out a report. Now we have devices that have pretty much made these methods of communication out-of-date. The funny thing about these devices is that they also seem to become obsolete just about as quickly as they are created.
Here are just some of the devices that my family no longer uses because they have either become obsolete, or they have replaced by a newer product.
For me, it will be hard to say goodbye to the laptop and the smartphone. They have been with me for years, and they were both my first devices of their kind. I have had both of them before my two younger children were born, and they helped to share different milestones of my family’s life while they were operational. Now I have to let go of these “family treasures,” but I to do them want responsibly.
Since devices are becoming more and more expendable, they are being tossed away when they can be of use to someone in some way, shape or form. This is creating electronic waste or e-waste. One way that these devices can stop clogging up our homes and landfills is by recycling them. The Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES) is a not-for-profit industry organization that looks over the responsible reuse and recycling of unwanted electronics. They do so through a program that includes numerous OES-approved collection sites and many other affiliate sites across Ontario. They are trying to help people like me to learn and to recycle unwanted and out-of-date electronics instead of throwing them away into our landfills. Below are some methods you can use in order to have the devices you no longer need recycled.
1 Recycle Stations
You can drop off devices and electronics you no longer need at a recycle station. There are many of them throughout Ontario. At these recycling centres, your electronics are collected and sorted. They are then sent to and Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA)-approved recycling facility to remove any substances that may harm the environment. The remaining parts are then separated in order to find recyclable material such as metals, plastics and glass so they can be used to make new products. RecycleYourElectronics.ca is a site where you can go to find out which your electronics can be recycled in Ontario, what can be refurbished, and can show you where the closet recycling centres are you with 25 km.
2 Giving Back to Our Community
Donating your unwanted electronics is another way these items will not find their way into our landfills. There are many organizations around Ottawa and Ontario that will take these devices and turn it around so that it benefits the community. If drop off your e-waste to one great organizations, some or all of the proceeds from these donations will go towards supporting our community! It could go towards providing food, creating shelter, giving families these devices who could not afford to pay for them on their own, or providing funds for research to finding a cure for a disease that is afflicting many Canadians who live among us. As much as getting something feels great, giving something that will help others in so many ways feels great, too!
3 Getting a Little Something for Yourself
It is great to help out your community and the environment, but sometimes, there should be something in it for yourself, too. There are some companies that will take your e-waste and give you something in return. Some of them are trying to reduce the amount of minerals that are taken out of the earth to make new devices by reselling your unwanted items. They will take your devices and will they may apply it towards store credit towards the purchase of an item, or they may give you cash back for the precious materials that hidden beneath the metal or plastic covers of your devices. Some of these electronics use copper, gold or other precious metals to produce these devices, so your unwanted electronics could end up being another person’s treasure! Giving your e-waste to a retailer who will give you something back is a win-win-win situation. You get a perk from the retailer; the retailer gets a product they can resell to someone else, and the environment will have fewer minerals extracted from it and polluting it.
These are just some of the ways that families can recycle their e-waste in order to reduce the amount of e-waste in our landfills and help limit the amount of materials that are being harvested from the earth to create new electronic devices. It may not seem like a lot, but just think about the amount of unwanted devices around your home. Then think about the amount of homes within your community with families that are piling up with devices. Eventually they will have to go somewhere, and some people may decide to put them in the trash. That would be a lot of e-waste that could have a better purpose and less harmful outcome to our environment elsewhere.
Here is one of a series of funny videos the OES created to help get the word out about the significance of seeing what’s inside your unwanted electronics by reusing and recycling them.
I hope that you were able to see the benefits of recycling and reusing electronic devices, find the devices around your home that no longer work or are no longer needed, then visit RecycleYourElectronics.ca to see where the closest electronic collection site is to give some new life to not only the device, but to our communities and to our environment as well.