One hundred tonnes of electronics recycling collection over the last four years in Tillsonburg raised almost $20,000 for local non-profit groups.
How much the Station Arts Centre and Tillsonburg Sea Scouts raise in the future depends on how many people donate their 'e-waste.'
Terry Ross, recycling project coordinator, said the new permanent site, located at the town parking lot behind George's Auto (Bidwell Street), which is open 9-4 Monday to Saturday, is expected to raise $10,000 a year.
"If we can get everyone donating – by dropping off their electronics – to us," said Ross.
"I think one point that keeps getting lost in all this is that, while it was not that long ago you paid to have your electronics buried in a landfill site, our program is now paid by the tonne, just the same as the Big Box stores, to collect your electronic waste for the OES recycle program. So you are donating to either the local non-profit initiative or the big box store. Your 'e-waste' is our treasure."
It's 100 tonnes of materials that did not find their way into the landfill, said Deb Beard, general manager of the Station Arts Centre, during a 100-tonne celebration on August 27.
"The materials have been re-purposed, and that's a great partnership we have with Ontario Electronic Stewarships (OES)," said Beard.
The local electronic recycling collection program was initiated by a computer group at the Station Arts Centre in 2010, starting with one-day recycling events. The 3rd annual event, in September 2013, collected unwanted electronics such as MP3 players, cameras, telephones, TVs and monitors, VCR and DVD players, recorders, radios and more.
A partnership was established with the Sea Scouts to pick up recycling items from residents in Tillsonburg.
"For a donation to the Sea Scouts they can get it out of their house and into the recycling program," said Beard.
"We cannot thank enough Brett Lavier of Canadian Tire, Dave Clergy of Home Hardware, and Nick Rolph of TD Bank, for foregoing their own corporate electronics recycle programs and supporting the local non-profit initiative," said Ross. "Both Canadian Tire and Home Hardware have been redirecting their electronics recycling to us for several months now – that's been huge, thank you for your support."
Sponsors Easy 101/Country 107.3 and TD Bank have been there since the beginning, Ross added, and their financial contributions at points over the last four years in the program's development that may have avoided shutting it down.
"The full support of Town Council made the permanent site," Ross Summed up, "and greater community participation in this project, a reality."
"The big thing we have to realize," said Mayor Dave Beres, "is that when this stuff ends up in a landfill site, eventually it becomes what they call leachate, which is a liquid that is very harmful to the environment. There are a lot of things in computers, cell phones and electronics that should be recycled for that purpose. So it's certainly an advantage to the environment to keep that stuff out.
"With this important partnership that the Station Arts Centre and Sea Scouts have developed," said Councillor Mel Getty, "it's even easier to keep this out of the landfill for seniors, elders and those who have no means of getting their electronics down to the bin. I think it was a stellar idea to go into partnership with an organization like the Sea Scouts. They make a little, help the community a lot, and at the end of the day everybody wins in this community."