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Recycle your old and obsolete electronics for multiple benefits

(NC) Canadians are certainly faithful to separating their household garbage all week long, indicating that most of us are determined to pull our weight when it comes to protecting the environment. A growing number of Canadians, however, have added another step.

Did you know that for several years now, a robust nationwide initiative has made it much easier and safer to recycle our end-of-life electronics?

All recycling is beneficial, but when it comes to safely discarding electronic items like laptops, televisions, printers, and cameras, there are far more rewards in store than first meet the eye, says the Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA), an industry-led not-for-profit organization that operates and regulates recycling programs across the country.

“When you recycle end-of-life electronic products in a safe and secure manner, you're not only helping to keep them out of Canada's landfill, you are also preventing them from being illegally exported or handled by irresponsible recyclers,” says Cliff Hacking, the president and chief executive officer for EPRA. “Furthermore, when electronics are received and dismantled by approved recyclers, you are also helping to recover and recycle valuable resources that can be put back into the manufacturing supply chain.”

Today, there are well over 1,000 authorized EPRA collection sites in the country, including official Drop-off Centres, plus return-to-retail locations, special recycling events – and as a result, many Canadians are doing their part. Collection records show that already as much as 100,000 metric tonnes of old electronics are kept out of landfills every year – and that is roughly the weight-equivalent of 20,000 elephants.

So what happens to all those electronic products instead?

Once received by an authorized collection site, the items are sent to audited and approved recyclers for specialized processing. New technology is used to break down old technology and to harvest the raw materials that went into them, including glass, plastic, and precious metals like gold and copper.

Substances of concern like mercury and lead are disposed of responsibly to protect both the environment and the health and safety of the workers handling them. The recovered materials are then put back into the manufacturers' supply chain and used to make new products.

It's impossible to imagine the world today without electronics. But, says EPRA, we must also make sure that it's impossible to imagine a world where piles of old electronics are sitting in landfills, harming our environment.

As many as 80% of Canadians polled said they had at least one end-of-life electronic item in the house. Do you?

If so, more information about recycling them responsibly – including an informative video– is available online at

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