Krista Swanson: Tech Mummy


How To Recycle Your Electronics

Two alternatives to throwing them in the garbage

Maybe it’s Earth Day, or maybe it’s spring cleaning, but questions to my inbox have shifted lately from ‘what should we buy?’ to ‘how do we dispose of our electronics?’

Did you know that every year, 20 to 50 million metric tons of E-waste are disposed of worldwide?

Most of us have outdated electronics at home, and most of them are really unfit for the landfill. Think about it, electronic waste can contain PVC, flame retardants, gases, heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium), and scores of other items that we don’t want being leeched into our ground water supply.

So, you have a box full of electronics, what do you do?

Donate if you can

There are many organizations in Canada devoted to collecting used electronics for refurbishing to distribute to those who could make use of them.

Computers for Schools accepts donations of surplus computer equipment from both the public and private sectors, refurbishes the equipment and provides it to schools, libraries, charities and not-for-profits with a learning focus across Canada.

The Electronics Recycling Association donates computers (at no charge) to local schools, charities, non profit groups, libraries, elderly homes, and other community based organizations.

Give a call to your local daycare, seniors home, shelter and ask if they are in need of what you have.  I’ve had good success with daycare centres for computers, monitors, TV’s, DVDs and CD’s.


Take advantage of an E-Cycling depot like the 3rd Annual ‘ecoHero’ E-Waste Collection which will be running from Wednesday April 25  through Sunday April 29 2012 at the Burlington mall in Burlington Ontario.

The 'ecoHero' E-Waste Collection held at the Burlington mall diverted a whopping 18.6 metric tonnes of electronic waste from landfill sites, an increase in 4.6 metric tonnes over the previous year, so you can see the value of these types of events. Most municipalities have similar programs so check with your local office to see what depots are available in your region.  is funded by most major cell phone carriers in Canada, and allows you to drop off your cell which is sent to a recycling facility where it can be refurbished or dismantled for scrap.

If you have received a new Dell computer system in the last 30 days, Dell Canada will allow you to recycle your unused printers, desktop computers, notebooks or monitors product for free by following this link 

Toshiba Canada has a similar program called the ‘TERRE’ program but this program will recycle any manufacturer’s notebook computer, projector, LCD monitor, or pocket PC free of charge (they will not accept desktop PC’s, printers, faces, CRT monitors, hard drives, video cards etc.)

Call2recycle provides drop off sites for all household batteries including alkalines or single-use batteries weighing less than 11 lbs/5 kg. This means you can finally empty that bin of old batteries from the garage. Use the search tool on to find a drop off location near you (there were dozens close to my house.)

Best Buy and Future Shop both have in store drop off locations for used electronics, and if you ask you may find that they have a trade-in event that allows you to trade in your old stuff for gift cards to the store. Sony also has a program that allows you to drop off old Sony products to a Sony store for recycling at no charge. 

I know I’ll be going through my junk heap of an office finding things to recycle this weekend, and hope you’ll do the same! Do you have any other locations that you know of to recycle your old electronics? Share them below!