9 Commonly Asked Questions About Recycling Electronics


If you’re like millions of Canadians, you’ve experienced the situation where you got a new cell phone, laptop, or desktop computer and then had to deal with your old one. Unless you decided to pass down your unwanted electronics to a family member or friend, you needed a way to get rid of it. what did you do with it? One option is e-waste recycling. Read on to learn more.

1. What is E-Waste Recycling?

E-waste recycling happens when waste electronics get taken apart and disposed of because there is no need for any of the parts. There is a program in Ontario called Ontario Electronic Stewardship that dictates how end-of-life electronics are handled.

2. What is Ontario Electronic Stewardship

OES is a not-for-profit organization that runs the regulated recycling program in Ontario. The program is funded through the Environmental Handling Fees that you pay on all new electronic products that you buy. The EHF for each item is based on how much it costs to recycles the materials that makes up the product you’re buying. That money goes towards the collection, transportation, and recycling of unwanted electronics.

3. Why Should I Recycle My Old Electronics?

Responsible electronics recycling means that no dangerous materials get sent to landfills; all materials are handled responsibly so that the environment is protected and there is no threat to humans or wildlife.

4. What Items Can I Recycle?

Drop-off locations will accept display devices like TVs and monitors; non-cellular phones and answering machines; desktop computers, cables, keyboards and mice, and other internal components; portable computers like tablets, laptops, netbooks, and notebooks; computer peripherals like mice, keyboards, and trackballs; printers and fax machines; audio/video systems like speakers, portable CD players, cameras, video cameras, voice recorders, MP3 players, and stereos; aftermarket vehicle audio/video systems; and cellular devices.

5. What Happens to My Old Items?

All discarded electronics are sorted and sent to a recycling facility where the items are taken apart. Different substances are sorted; hazardous materials are handled and other materials like plastics, metals, and glass are sorted into different streams so they can be made into new products. Hazardous materials like lead and mercury are handled appropriately and sent to facilities that deal with such items.

6. How Am I Sure Everything is Recycled Responsibly?

The drop-off locations are managed responsibly so that everyone there is kept safe and the environment is protected. Only recyclers who have been qualified to work under the Electronics Recycling Standard are allowed to work there. Recyclers must follow health and safety controls as well as environmental controls. All materials are handled properly to ensure the health and safety for everyone.

7. What Types of Materials Are Recovered?

Your recycled electronics contain everything from aluminum, palladium, copper, glass, steel, plastics, and precious metals. None of that should end up in landfills; with e-waste recycling, the recoverable products are recovered and turned into new products.

8. How Much E-Waste is Recycled in Canada?

In 2016, over 60,000 metric tonnes of end-of-life electronics were collected, sorted, and recycled. This means that all of those electronics are kept out of landfills, were prevented from being illegally exported, and valuable resources were put back into the manufacturing supply chain rather than dumped into a landfill.

9. Where Can I Drop Off Old Electronics?

There are more than 2,300 Recycle My Electronics collection locations across Canada. A simple postal code search can tell you where you can go to drop off your unwanted, end-of-life electronics.

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