What to do with your old electonics
If a new TV found a home with you over the holidays you now have to decide what to do with the old one. If you can't find someone to give it to the best thing to do is bring it to a recycling centre for proper disposal.
Joyce Thayer of the Electronic Stewardship Association of B.C. says the amount of electronics they've collected this year has gone up 30 per cent from the year before.
Seventy-five thousand pallets of old TVs, computers, monitors, keyboards and printers and printer/fax machines have now been recycled. That's enough to make a line from downtown Vancouver to the U.S. border.
They end up at a number of recycling facilities like Teck in Trail.
"You are audited by an independent third party who tracks the material from the time it is received by the processors until it becomes a commodity to ensure it's handled responsibly and not shipped off-shore to third-world countries," Thayer said.
Huge furnaces separate the valuable metals and the leftover slag is used in cement. Nothing is wasted.
If the TV or old computer monitor has a broken screen it is now considered hazardous waste.
"It's lead in the CRT's and mercury in the LCD's that are a concern," Thayer said.
There are only three sites in B.C. that can take these items -- two in the Lower Mainland and one in Kelowna.
Recycling experts urge consumers to think of it as an end of life decision - because all of the products will end up being destroyed. According to the Recycling Council of B.C., you should think of other options first -- especially when it comes to old computers
"Even if you don't want it some one else may be able to use it and there are plenty of programs that will take your computer including Free Geek or computers for schools," said Mairi Welman.
Free Geek refurbishes old computers and gives them to low income people or schools. The Recycling Council says some retailers also have additional programs
London Drugs is a leader with its "Green Deal," which recycles a very wide range of products for its customers.
You paid a recycling fee when you got new electronics so you might as well get your money's worth and bring your old ones in for recycling if they can't be reused.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen