May 1st, 2017

Why You Need to Recycle Your E-Waste (and how London Drugs can help!)

Earth Day 2017 may be over, but we at London Drugs know that thinking about and acting on behalf of our planet is a vitally important year-long activity. That’s why we accept so many forms of recyclables at our stores, including everything from small appliances and empty bottles to both standard and rechargeable batteries. We even accept styrofoam!

 

There is one type of waste that can be especially damaging to both the environment and to communities around the world: e-waste.

It deserves special attention because, too often, we don’t think of e-waste as being recyclable at all. Or we don’t realize that there are good and not-so-good ways to deal with it.

What is E-Waste?

The first important thing to know is that “e-waste” is not garbage, it’s actually a category of recyclables. The problem is, objects in this category aren’t always disposed of properly. In fact, the UN estimates that only about 14% of e-waste is currently being recycled around the globe.

The category of e-waste includes all electronic appliances, but one of the most hazardous sub-types is computers. This includes PCs, gaming consoles, monitors, televisions, tablets, smartphones, and all other handheld digital devices.

Collectively, items in this category have advanced components inside them, such as microchips and motherboards. Although many of us rarely see these components, it’s important to understand that they are often constructed out of hazardous materials like cadmium, lead, and chromium.

Thankfully, many of the companies that produce these products, including Apple, are working toward a future in which these hazardous materials either won’t be needed or can be entirely obtained from recycled e-waste. But we aren’t there yet.

It’s important for consumers to know about the damage to the environment these products can cause when they are disposed of improperly, and to take responsibility for making sure disposal is done right.

How Dangerous is E-Waste?

Improperly handled or mistakenly thrown out e-waste is currently causing serious damage to the environment worldwide. Over time the dangerous metals and chemicals in e-waste (including in plastic casings) break down in our landfills. From there, these pollutants can enter the soil, the air, and the water in the surrounding area.

Another threat posed by e-waste is to the labourers who handle the products. This is especially true for the vast quantities of e-waste that are frequently shipped to developing nations for processing. Too often, these recycling operations are poorly regulated, leaving workers unfairly exposed to physical harm, illness, and even death.

On top of that, the processes used to isolate the valuable parts of e-waste can be crude and may cause more environmental damage than simply throwing the e-waste into the trash. For example, burning copper wires at low temperatures to remove the plastic coating (a common practice at unregulated recycling operations) releases hazardous chemical compounds into the air.

This is why it is so important not only to recycle your e-waste but to ensure that it is being disposed of responsibly. This is needed for the sake of the planet and for the safety of the labourers involved in the process.

What Can We Do About E-Waste?

Good news! If you live in Western Canada, London Drugs accepts all forms of e-waste for proper recycling. Simply bring your tech recyclables into one of our stores and look for the recycling station.

If you don’t see the recycling kiosk in your local LD store, or aren’t sure quite where to find it, just ask one of our LD Experts or speak to someone at the customer service desk. For certain items, there may be daily limits we will inform you of, but we will always do our best to accommodate your recycling needs.

When you recycle your e-waste at London Drugs you can be sure it will be handled by fully-screened and certified companies and never shipped to substandard processing plants. Another benefit of recycling your e-waste at London Drugs is that we always make sure your personal data is properly deleted. In some cases, we may even offer your used electronics a second life by providing them to those in need.

Go the extra mile for the environment and participate in our computer packaging re-use system called Bring Back The Pack. We’re thrilled to have partnered with Certified Data to bring you this program that enables re-use of brand new computer packaging.

Don’t live near a London Drugs? Don’t worry.

There are other ways to safely dispose of e-waste in Canada. The first place to check is with your local recycling depot, but The Salvation Army also typically accepts e-waste.

And remember, whatever you do, the most important step you can take to avoid contributing to the e-waste problem is to never put your electronics into the garbage.

Have more questions about e-waste recycling? You can always ask an LD Expert in-store.

And we encourage you to learn more about our recycling program at GreenDeal.ca.



November 23rd, 2016

Top Gifts for Techies

It’s the last weekend of November and before long you’ll have holiday parties to attend and travel plans to make. So why not get your shopping done early? 

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Starting with last week’s Top Gifts for Busy Women, we’re posting weekly gift guides for different groups, including everything from stocking stuffers to show stoppers.

This week, it’s our gift guide for techies. Whether he or she works or studies in IT or is just keen to test out all the latest in tech, we’ve got you covered.

Tech Gift Guide

Here’s our guide to help you buy a cutting-edge gift for the techie on your list.

1. VR is (Finally) Real

Tech Gift GuideSadly, much of the tech we dreamed of as kids remains unavailable. Despite coming close last summer, we’re still waiting for hoverboards like the one Marty McFly rode, and let’s not get started on lunar hotels. Sheesh.

But it’s not all bad – 2016 finally brought us virtual reality, or VR, headsets. Still, it’s important to know that not all VR is the same.

On the top end are the most potent VR sets, like Playstation VR, which require powerful nearby tech, in its case a Playstation 4 and PS4 camera, to run truly stunning experiences. They’re great for those really ready to invest in VR, or who’ve been ready for decades.

For others, there are awesome, amazingly affordable VR headsets that utilize your smartphone to play the thousands of downloadable VR games from your preferred app store. And speaking of childhood memories, there’s Mattel’s updated VR View-Master, offering fun for kids aged 7 to 99.

2. Super Smart Homes

 

Tech Gift GuideUntil recently, about the smartest home tech devices were robot vacuum. Those are still great (and even mop now), but today there are many home tech devices available.

Nest is a pioneer in connected homes. By pairing with your smartphone and adapting to your needs, their original smart thermostat made thermostats cool in 2011, which had been hard to imagine before. Now they also offer a smart smoke detector and a security camera.

But smart homes go beyond even that. There are also smart outlets available to reveal exactly how much energy each appliance uses and when. Not to mention internet-connected smart doorbells, air quality sensors, and multi-cam security systems.

There are even smart light bulbs now. No, really.

3. Join the Stream

Tech Gift GuideThese days, virtually all techies use “streaming media.” It means playing audio or video content without downloading it. Instead, their device simply receives a ‘stream’ of data.

This innovation allows access to massive digital libraries, like those on Netflix and Spotify. It also allows more flexibility at home about where to play your content, as you can also stream from one device to another.

As with all tech revolutions, there are tools that make streaming easier. For streaming video to your TV, there are devices like Google’s Chromecast, Apple TV, and Roku devices.

For streaming any saved media, there are media hubs. For streaming to your existing stereo equipment, there are Bluetooth audio receivers. Meanwhile, wireless in-home audio systems can stream sound to every room, and portable wireless speakers stream music anywhere.

4. Run a Gadget Play

Tech Gift Guide

If there’s one thing no techie can resist, it’s the allure of a shiny new gadget. Believe us, we’ve tried.

It could be something simple, like an aluminum stylus. Or much more elaborate, like an ultra compact PC that fits in the palm of your hand. Oooohhh.

We all know techies love their smartphones. So help keep them charged, super chargedcharged in the dark, or charged on the go.

A great option for scatterbrained techies is the Tile tracking system that virtually eliminates the worry of ever losing one of their wonderful toys. Oh, and don’t forget cords and adapters. Techies love those. Just ask what they need, but be prepared for a list.

For more gift-giving advice for the techie on your list, speak to an LD Expert today. To make a purchase, visit London Drugs in-store and online.

We’ll be back next week with a top gift guide for foodies. See you then! 



November 4th, 2016

5 Things to Do With All Your Smartphone Pics

At London Drugs, we love smartphone photography. It’s not just for amateurs anymore, either. Even most pros have probably found themselves taking more and more smartphone pics lately.

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In fact, it’s estimated 78.8% of all photos taken worldwide will be shot on smartphones by 2017. We’re also currently taking more pictures than ever, largely because of smartphones. In 2015, one trillion photos were taken worldwide for the first time – a 16.2% increase from 2014.

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June 18th, 2015

Top 5 Must-Haves for your Summer Road Trip from London Drugs

Summer weekends were made for lake and cottage country. Most Fridays now after work, we will see the mass exodus of cars leaving for a weekend of fun, sun, and relaxation. Whether the drive is an hour, four or more, road trips can be made easier by traveling with essentials that can make getting to your destination safe and fun.

Here are our top 5 picks for your summer road trip must-haves:

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April 8th, 2015

Fitness Gadgets to get the most out of your fitness

Have you ever needed that extra little bit of motivation, or a reminder to get active? London Drugs tech expert David Levett sat down with anchor Darrell Rumold on CTV Morning Live in Regina to discuss some of the newest products on the market for monitoring fitness.

For someone looking for something simple, yet effective for fitness tracking, FitBit might be the perfect choice. These activity trackers are a very user-friendly option and are best suited for entry-level to average fitness trackers who want something simple. David showed off the FitBit Charge HR model, capable of tracking essential fitness measures like steps taken, calories burned and active minutes. The charge also acts a watch and is able to sync wireless to any laptop or smartphone. FitBit can also monitor one’s sleep. David explained in the newscast how the FitBit would track sleep and then display on an iPad the amount and quality of sleep he had. Starting as low as $70, FitBit provides an affordable option for users who want effective fitness monitoring without complexities.

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June 26th, 2013

Sony XBR 4K Ultra HD TV Series

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Go beyond HD with detail that’s real

Maybe you remember the experience of watching colour TV for the very first time? And what about the first time you saw High Definition? Now it’s time to take your viewing into a brand new era. The 4K LCD screen contains no less than 8 million individual pixels (3,840 x 2,160 pixels). That’s four times more detail than your Full HD TV. Advanced picture processing ensures that every one of those pixels displays images with superb quality.
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April 18th, 2013

Everything old is cool again

Here’s a question: What’s the size of a credit card, as thick as an iPhone, and has two wheels? Or how about this: What is round and black with one continuous groove on it? Or finally: What is round, is as shiny as a mirror, and has a hole in the middle that lets you spin it on your finger? The answer to all questions is music (tape cassette, vinyl record, CD.)

London Drugs CDs records and cassette tapes

Compared to past generations, music has attained a superpower: invisibility. Remember how heavy and cumbersome it was to move your record/cassette/CD collection to a new living space? Now 10 times the size of your old music collection floats over your head in “the cloud,” somehow following you wherever you are. I barely understand how this works—magic?—and you can bet I can’t even try to explain this to my mom, who’s still suspicious of fax machines.

Old technology can be strangely satisfying

I’ll confess I’ve been a cherry-picker when it comes to music. If I hear a song I like, wherever I am I’ll immediately buy it online. Then I’ll listen to it as many times as it takes to learn the lyrics. Technology lets me have immediate gratification, but I don’t know if it’s fostering true appreciation, which makes me sad because I truly love music.

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The best of both worlds—play your records, then record them as digital files to import into your computer.

Recently a good friend gifted me with a great find—a Sony turntable from a yard sale (and a couple decades ago.) I dug out some of my old vinyl and started listening again, and it was wonderful to hear the songs in the order the artist intended them to be listened to. Instead of being cumbersome, there’s a strange contentment to pulling the sleeve out of the record cover, placing the record on the turntable, and gently letting the needle drop. A large part of my knowledge and appreciation of music came from just listening and reading the liner notes.

Technology doesn’t always mean better

I like that London Drugs recognizes that just because technology changes, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. Sure, the latest and greatest can bring a difference to your life (like efficiency,) but I love that London Drugs doesn’t abandon some of these products because they may be perceived as “old school” or not cool. In fact, as my turntable-gifting friend pointed out, a retailer like London Drugs is the perfect place to pick up old vinyl favourites that you can’t find in good condition at small stores or garage sales. And these re-pressings are exceptional in listening quality. Chris Gibson, an electronics buyer with London Drugs agrees. He told me “We’ve seen a resurgence in vinyl LP sales, and we’re hearing from our customers that it’s because the experience is altogether different than today’s digitally downloaded music.”

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