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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At London Drugs, we strive to do business responsibly. The four pillars of our sustainability strategy aim to improve: waste reduction, energy & operations, upstream buying, and education. Since 2008, our in-store recycling initiatives have prevented tonnes of garbage from reaching landfills. April, of course, is Earth Month—Earth Day falls on the 22nd—so we’ve collected for you a clutch of our favourite sustainability tips and tricks. Enjoy!
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Over 4,500 pounds of electronics and other items diverted from the City of Calgary’s landfills
On September 20, 2014 the communities of Rocky Ridge and Royal Oak participated in a Community Cleanup sponsored by The City of Calgary and London Drugs.
The parking lot of London Drugs Royal Oak was turned into a recycling party with music playing, a Community Appreciation BBQ serving up hot dogs, and a steady stream of recyclers from the community dropping off items at the different charity and recycling stations.
Local charities, Neighborlink and Goods Trading Services together reusing a whole truck load of clothes, household goods, furniture and toys – all being donated to families in need. Habitat for Humanity also collected remnants from renovation projects for use in future construction.
It’s the happiest time of the year. It’s also the most wasteful. Boxes and Styrofoam and gift-wrap – oh my!
According to Stats Canada, the annual waste generated in Canada from gift-wrapping and shopping bags equals about 545,000 tonnes. If every Canadian family reduced its weekly waste during the holidays by just one kilogram, we could eliminate 34,000 tonnes of garbage.
London Drugs, recipient of numerous corporate recycling awards for their waste diversion program, What’s the Green Deal?, shares ideas on how you can reduce or divert that holiday waste from going into landfills.
Canadian Retailer Receives Top ‘Waste Wise’ Prize in Alberta
Taking home the ‘waste wise’ prize in the large business category, the company was one of 32 finalists out of a record number of nominations from across Alberta this year.
“London Drugs has stewarded environmental efforts for a number of years, and we have made strides through our waste diversion programs,” said Maury McCausland, Administrator of Retail Operations for London Drugs. “It’s truly an honour to be recognized for these efforts. It’s not only a testament to our team of employees who all aspire to make a difference, but also our loyal customers who care to participate in the recycling programs we offer.”
In the 1980s, London Drugs was one of Canada’s first retailers to offer its customers the opportunity to recycle plastic shopping bags. Since then, recycling solutions and the list of items and materials that London Drugs recycles has grown substantially – now more than 74 per cent of the company’s waste is recycled or repurposed, instead of going to landfill.
Since the 2008 launch of London Drugs’ educational ‘What’s the Green Deal’ program and the support from its staff and customers, London Drugs now tallies more than 42 million pounds of materials recycled including: Styrofoam, batteries, computers, televisions, cell phones, paper, plastic, cardboard, and metals.
“We offer customers in-store recycling that goes beyond what is mandated by regulations. We work with our buyers and suppliers to improve our product sustainability, and we communicate with our customers in-store and online with a dedicated website, blogs, videos and social media,” adds McCausland. “We are proud of the achievements of our employees and customers in reducing waste, but we realize the journey to sustainability is one that never ends. That’s why ‘What’s the Green Deal?’ is a question we will continue to ask ourselves, even as we endeavor to answer it.”
London Drugs’ overall waste diversion rate rose from 67% in 2011 to 74% in 2012. And individual stores have advanced even further with a chain-wide goal for all London Drugs stores to achieve 95% waste diversion by 2015.
In Alberta, the Oliver Square West store in Edmonton posted an impressive 93% recycling rate. This success story can be read here.
The company also continues to look for ways to help green the communities they operate in. Most recently, London Drugs partnered with Green Calgary to reduce the ‘waste hangover’ of a popular Stampede breakfast in Calgary.
To see what products can be recycled through London Drugs, or to learn more about these eco-friendly services and products visit the What’s The Green Deal? website at http://www.greendeal.ca
In honour of Earth Month we challenged our stores to create a video about how they’re doing their part to be Earth Friendly. Everyone had a great time and some real creativity was shown.
London Drugs Airdrie
London Drugs Olympic Village
London Drugs East Hastings
London Drugs Warehouse
London Drugs Prince George
Make the switch to these featured GREEN household products to make your daily rituals more eco-friendly.
From breakfast to bedtime, London Drugs has a huge array of products to compliment your day-to-day while keeping in mind the environment and the creation of a sustainable future. By making small changes in personal product choices, you may be able to lessen your own environmental impact and carbon footprint to benefit the earth.
Make your before breakfast to-dos greener by using Tom’s of Maine Anticavity Toothpaste with Flouride. Not only does Tom’s strive to use renewal resources in their products, but also is constantly working towards the ‘greening’ of all business practices like manufacturing and packaging. Tom’s recent switch from aluminum to laminate tubing has resulted in lowered raw materials and energy usage, contributing to their notably low carbon footprint.