Recycling program hits consumers in the wallet
Expect to pay more money at the cash register when you buy new appliances now that a new B.C. recycling initiative has taken effect.
Unplugged, which took effect Oct. 1, is a small appliance recycling program that saves millions of old appliances from heading to the landfill.
It's the first program of its kind in North America and finally gives consumers a place to bring in old and unwanted electrical products.
"They're really excited -- ecstatic even. They're bringing it in knowing they can drop it off -- vacuum, toaster ovens, microwaves -- feeling to themselves that they don't have to throw them out anymore," said warehouse manager Ian Thai.
But the new program comes at a price, with a new front-end recycling fee being attached to all small appliances purchased in the province.
You'll pay an extra $2.25 at the cash register for a new toaster, $1.25 for a fan and $1 for a hair dryer.
And the bigger the product, the higher the fee will be. A heavier appliance like a microwave will see a surcharge ranging from $7.50 to $10.
Mark Kurschner, product care association president for Unplugged, says the fees are necessary to run the recycling program.
"There's no cost to drop off the product [and] that's important. [It] doesn't matter when you bought it, if it's 20 years old bring it in -- no cost to drop off. But the program has to be funded. There's costs to collect it, cost to transport it, cost to process it."
The old appliances are torn apart, with the materials separated and used to make new products.
B.C. consumers are responding positively. One Vancouver recycling depot is collecting five giant bins full of small appliances every week, and Kurschner believes it will be even busier once more people find out about what they're doing.
"Our impression is British Columbians will respond, will do the right thing," he said. "They've already been doing it for a lot of other products that have recycling programs so we think they'll be there."
There are 100 Unplugged recycling depots across the province. All of the money collected stays in the program and none of it goes to the government or retailers.
The depots accept most appliances, provided they don't use Freon.
Click here for a list of eligible appliances, including fees, and drop-off locations.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Lynda Steele