I recently embarked on a massive Spring cleaning session at home and at the office, and I accumulated a large pile of stuff I no longer had use for. Being a big proponent of recycling, I ensured that all my scraps of paper made it into the grey box, while old clothing and useful household items were donated to the Good Will. After the dust bunnies settled, I was left with numerous boxes of old CDs, obsolete floppy disks and various electronic gadgets that were of use to no one. This type of material is commonly referred to as e-waste, and surprisingly, Kingston does not yet have a formal program to divert these toxic items from our landfill facilities.
I ran a quick search at the City of Kingston’s website, and the most relevant reference to e-waste was an email between councilor Leonore Foster and the ARTEX Environmental Corporation. Therein ARTEX provides a brief update on environmental legislation concerning e-waste, and recommends that the city adopt some form of e-waste collection, “whether it be on a designated collection day(s) or on an ongoing basis.” Although it is difficult to gauge how many iPods, CRT monitors, and VHS tapes Kingstonians are throwing away, studies conducted in other cities reveal some troubling figures. In Sydney, Austrailia, a trial collection period diverted “57,000 kg of e-waste, totalling some 6000 items from 677 brands” from local landfills. Save for battery collection as a part of the hazardous materials program, I think it’s safe to say that the absence of an e-waste program in Kingston has resulted in huge amounts of lead, mercury, cadmium, and other toxic heavy metals being deposited into our landfills.
My personal green quest did not end there, as I was able to find a few places to recycle the remnants of my spring cleaning. Chumleigh’s and numerous used CD stores would not take my CD jewel cases, however I was able to convince a friends to take them off my hands. My old printer and computer monitor were given away on Craigslist to people looking for spare parts. Lastly, my broken MP3 player, and old CDs were deposited in Best Buy’s Greentec recycling bins, which also accept cell phones, portable DVD and CD players, ink cartridges, and batteries.
All in all, I was not left with one piece of e-waste, but it was an arduous process that many people might not have patience for. I strongly believe that the city should adopt a day of e-waste collection each month, if nothing else but to gauge the amount of stuff Kingstonian’s are throwing away. Do you have any tips for recycling your e-waste? Remember, comments made during May give you the chance to win a gift certificate for either le Chien Noir or Atomica.