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What Happens to Our Recycled Electronics?

fixing a computer on October 21, 2023 at 2:15 pm

If you want to recycle electronics, including computers, games, and laptops, you can take them to the Stettler Transfer Site.

As the Heartland Beautification Committee says, "If it has a cord, it can be recycled."

But what happens to electronics once we drop them off?

The items are picked up by Shanked Computer Recycling Inc. (SCRI), a company based in Acheson, AB, west of Edmonton.

The SCRI website has several videos that show how electronics are dismantled and packaged for processing at other facilities.

For instance, old computers are completely disassembled by SCRI staff and are placed in separate bins for shipping.

SCRI says hard drives from computers, laptops, printers, etc., are locked in a secure cage, before they're shredded and sent away for processing. Worried about sensitive company information on your old hard drives? The company says it will provide a Certificate of Destruction if requested.

Materials such as plastic, cardboard, and metal are crushed, then baled and placed on skids for transport.

So who pays for electronics recycling? We do, in part. We consumers pay an environmental fee when we purchase things like televisions, laptops, and tablets.

For example, if you buy a television in Alberta with a screen larger than 30", the environmental fee is $6.

Electronics recycling in Alberta is regulated by the Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA), a not-for-profit organization that answers to the provincial Minister of Environment and Protected Areas.

"The materials processed in Alberta’s electronics recycling program are processed locally and are not sent to, or ‘dumped’ into developing countries," says the ARMA website.

The site identifies how materials in electronics are reused:

  • Steel, aluminum, copper from wires and cables are used as "feedstock for new products."

  • Glass from TV and other screens are melted and reused, after the lead has been removed.

  • Plastic is turned into "plastic flakes or pellets" for manufacturing new products.

According to the ARMA, Albertans have recycled 11.4 million TVs and computer equipment since 2004.

Stettler Local editor


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