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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Keeping the earth in great shape is a job for us all, young and old alike. And when it comes to recycling, kids can go green with no problems at all–with just a little guidance. Here are four ways to help your kids be kind to the planet–while having a total blast.
Host A Clothing And Toy Swap
Collaborate with other parents to recycle outgrown clothes and toys. Help everyone sort things by size or type (all the games and puzzles over here!) and see what treasures you can dig up. Afterwards, have some boxes and bags set up so you can drop off anything that didn’t find a new home at a worthy charity.
Make A Game of Post-Dinner Chores
Get your cleanup crew in gear with a cleanup sorting game: can it get recycled, composted or reused? Stoke competitive fire by promising a small prize or treat to the first to get everything put away. Track how much garbage you’re generating and see how your household improves over time.
Make Playtime Eco-Friendly
Is that garbage, or a crafting opportunity? Often old cartons and containers can be repurposed through glue, paint and a child’s imagination. One creative child we know transformed an old (and well-rinsed) laundry softener bottle into an Egyptian pharoah’s headdress, so the sky’s the limit here. Need some entry-level advice? Find those unmatched socks and take a look at this sock puppet guide from the masters of Muppetry, Sesame Street.
Think Green In All Things
When you’re planning a birthday party or a family vacation, brainstorm ways to minimize garbage. Consider giving experiences rather than things for birthdays and holidays. Go for bike rides or picnic in the park. Seek out environmentally friendly after school activities.
The best way to motivate your children to recycle is to demonstrate eco-friendly ways of living, and encouraging them to participate in green initiatives.
In general, creativity combined with a sense of fun make an eco-friendly childhood a snap. Before you throw anything away, consider if it could be reused or recycled in any way. By using fun and participatory activities, you can teach your kids how to recycle and tread lightly on this earth.
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.
Ethical Bean Coffee – choose from a variety of organic, locally roasted fairly traded blends.
Nature’s Path – A great company that started in B.C. and is beginning to go mainstream in the United States. Dedicated to organic and non-GMO, they make great cereals for stocking up at home, and snack bars for stocking stuffers.
Organic Chocolate – it’s a good idea to have something in the basket that can be eaten right away. There’s a nice milk chocolate variety pack from Green & Blacks, and a dark chocolate bar from Camino – a Canadian Organic, Fair-trade company that supports family farmers.
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.
If I was going to rank myself on a scale of 1 to 10 on how “green” I am, I’d give myself a solid 6. I would be an 8 if I wasn’t clinging (for some reason) to two old cell phones and a drawer full of dead batteries. I should get a 10 for knowing I can do better!