First-of-its-kind small appliance recycling program coming to BC

Sep 26, 2011 reprinted from Solid Waste & Recycling


British Columbians will soon be able to recycle their used or broken small appliances at over 100 convenient drop-off locations thanks to Unplugged, the Small Appliance Recycling Program.

Starting October 1, 2011, Unplugged will accept more than 120 small appliances for recycling, ranging from toasters and electric toothbrushes to countertop microwaves and vacuum cleaners.

Unplugged - the first small appliance recycling program of its kind in Canada and the only government-approved small appliance recycling program in British Columbia (B.C.) - aims to divert two million small appliances from landfills, helping to reduce pollution, save energy and protect the environment.

The program, administered by the Canadian Electrical Stewardship Association in partnership with B.C.-based Product Care Association, will also help save energy by recycling materials such as aluminum, which takes 95 per cent less energy to recycle than it does to make the material from raw resources.

After an appliance is brought to a drop-off location, it is transported to processors in Western Canada and separated into different materials, which are then recycled. Metals will be smelted down and recycled into other metal products, while plastics and glass will be sorted and sold or reused in various manufacturing processes.

As a non-profit program, Unplugged will be fully funded by a recycling fee applied to new products brought into B.C. by small appliance manufacturers and retailers.

The recycling fee covers all program costs, including collection, transportation and recycling, and may be included in a product's price or displayed as a separate charge at check-out.

The program will operate on a cost-recovery basis and all fees collected will stay within the program.

"This is a welcome addition to B.C.'s industry-managed and funded recycling programs," said Brock Macdonald, executive director, Recycling Council of British Columbia. "By diverting small appliances from municipal waste streams, Unplugged will recover valuable resources, promote conservation and reduce waste management costs for local governments throughout the province."

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