Skip to content

60 electronics products not accepted

Alberta Environment will not implement phase 2 of the electronics recycling program for the foreseeable future, something Town Coun. Jim Cheverie sees as a positive step.
Bonnyville maintenance facility accepts only a few electronics items.
Bonnyville maintenance facility accepts only a few electronics items.

Alberta Environment will not implement phase 2 of the electronics recycling program for the foreseeable future, something Town Coun. Jim Cheverie sees as a positive step.

Cheverie, Zone 7 director for Alberta Co-ordinated Action for Recycling Enterprises (CARE), would like to see existing recycling programs running smoothly before implementing new phases.

At a meeting with Alberta CARE this summer, Alberta Environment clarified that it would continue to not accept "anything with a plug" for now.

The provincial electronics recycling program accepts only televisions, computers, keyboards, laptops, and monitors. People can drop off items at the town's maintenance grounds between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

A list of 60 other items, including toasters, shavers, microwaves and hair dryers, are not accepted and should not be left at the drop off site. Small household electronics can be dropped off at an EcoStation in Edmonton.

Drew Ramsay, acting foreman for town roads and parks, said the public works department gets the odd item that has to be hauled to the dump, but that it really isn't that big of a deal.

"For the most part people have been pretty decent as far as the electronics," he said.

Fees collected at the point of sale pay for the electronics recycling program. For instance, a 46-inch or larger screen television charges a $45 environmental fee, while laptops cost $5, printers $8, and monitors $15.

After collection, items are transported to a processing plant where they are separated into plastics, metals, and glass.

Cal Dallas, parliamentary assistant to the minister of environment, said he didn't anticipate expanding the program this fall. For any changes to current recycling programs, amendments would need to be passed.

"We are also very interested in Alberta leading the economic recovery in Canada, and so are sensitive about the introduction of new fees or costs to consumers or businesses," Dallas said in a phone interview.

Adding items to the electronics program would add a recycling fee at the point of purchase because there is not enough market demand to make recycled electronics parts profitable.

The government hopes to reduce the amount of tonnage going to landfills through its Too Good To Waste strategy, but has not committed to expanding any recycling program by any date.

A provincial consultation by Alberta Recycling Management Authority in 2009 showed strong support for adding items, he said. The consultation discussed eventual inclusion of audio and visual equipment, information technology equipment, telecommunication products, and small household appliances.

Alberta Environment is also planning to move forward with the C & D Waste (construction and demolition) program sometime in the future with amendments to the Environmental Protection Act.

The program would charge commercial and residential builders a deposit, which would be refunded when construction and demolition waste is sorted and recycled.

Cheverie thinks some developers might choose to lose the deposit rather than spend the time and manpower to separate and sort waste materials.

"It's going to be not cost effective and it's going to cost developers money to do it, and that cost is going to be transferred right from the developer to the building owner if it's a renovation, or the buyer, if it's a new house," Cheverie said. He said it would be an additional tax on developers.

"One would be free to speculate that builders might not see fit to segregate the waste and see it repurposed, but I would be skeptical of that," Dallas said.

The province signed a memorandum of understanding in 2008 with the Alberta Construction Association and the Canadian Homebuilders Association. Consultation showed "a strong desire" from industry to see a program in place, Dallas said.