YAK is the new home for our region's E-Waste Depot

If you are like most households, you probably have a few shelves full of non-functioning or obsolete electronic devices, like computers, televisions, printers, telephones, cameras, cell phones, MP3 players, stereo equipment, or other unwanted electronic waste. You don’t want to throw them out, because they contain valuable metals, as well as some hazardous products that contaminate landfills. But where can you take them to be safely recycled and disposed of?

The Youth Action Kommittee of Perth & District (YAK) is excited to be partnering with Garbage Gofer and SHIFT Recycling on the establishment of an electronic waste depot in Perth. Starting June 21st, YAK will accept small amounts (car loads or less) of electronic waste at their Youth Centre at 1 Sherbrooke Street East, in the old Perth Shoe factory just across from the Shandex manufacturing facility (formerly Perth Soap).

Your unwanted electronic materials can be brought in during YAK’s regular operating hours, Monday to Friday from 2:00 to 7:00pm. PLEASE, do not bring or drop off material outside of those hours – it is essential that staff or volunteers from YAK are on hand to help unload and ensure the materials are in fact acceptable. If people just drop of materials, it will put the entire program at risk.

So what happens with the collected material? YAK has worked out an arrangement with Garbage Gofer to pick up the collected material on a regular basis and bring it to their facility on Conlon Drive, where they will sort the material, and prepare it for shipping via tractor trailers. Shift Recycling is the approved Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES) primary processor that will pick up the sorted and palletized materials from Garbage Gofer. The whole program is funded by OES, which gets in revenues in pert from Environmental Handling Fees on new electronic products.

Electronics contain precious and base metals that can be recovered through recycling at processing facilities. A good example of how these metals get reused is the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic medals, which contain recycled metal from electronic waste.

More than a carload? Contact Garbage Gofer’s Rick White at 613 812 5128 to arrange a time when truck loads of e-waste can be taken directly to Garbage Gofer’s Perth facility. Area residents and businesses can also arrange for pick-up service with Garbage Gofer. A small fee will be charged for pick up service. Rick is also looking into the possibility of offering once a month Saturday morning collection events – stay tuned for details and dates.

The great news is that this is truly a win-win initiative. YAK wins, because they get paid per tonne for all e-waste collected. They also get to involve some of their youth participants in helping to unload and organize materials, and area residents get to see the YAK facilities, participants and staff.

Garbage Gofer is a private sector business that gets paid for their value added sorting and packing, which helps them grow their business of junk removal, clean up, renovations, and metal and appliance recycling. The program also allows the White family to continue to give back to the community.

Local landfills win, as this program will ensure that many tonnes of valuable materials do not end up in area landfill sites. Since some electronics contain potentially hazardous materials will be safely recycled or disposed of the environment wins too. All collected materials are re-processed, recycled and/or safely disposed of here in North America, so this also ensures that materials do not end up oversees where they can create potential health and safety issues.