Electronic waste (e-waste) includes unwanted electronic equipment, such as smart devices and used cables, as well as batteries and fluorescent lights (including compact fluorescent lights). Electronic equipment contains toxins such as mercury, lead, cadmium, beryllium and arsenic. E-waste, if not managed properly, can be harmful to human health and to the environment. Fluorescent lights, for example, contain mercury and cannot be disposed of in regular garbage.
Additionally, the parts that make up your electronics, such as steel, glass, copper, aluminum, iron, plastics and precious metals, can be recovered and made into new products. Consider donating or selling your electronic item instead of disposing of them in your garbage.
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Where to dispose of e-waste
Just like garbage pickup, where you live may determine the availability of e-waste programs and the procedures for getting rid of electronic equipment. You can bring e-waste to a variety of municipal, not-for-profit, retail and other depots or special collection events. Your e-waste will be reused or recycled in an environmentally responsible way.
To find out if there are certified e-waste programs where you live and to obtain more information about these programs, including a detailed list of electronic materials that can and cannot be sent to recycling centres, contact your municipality. Environment and Climate Change Canada's website also maintains an inventory of recycling programs that provides links to extended producer responsibility programs, product stewardship programs and other related initiatives across Canada that take electronic waste.
Recycle your cell phone
When you have finished with your old cell phone or battery, do not throw either of them out. In most cases, vendors of wireless devices can take care of recycling your old cell phone when you purchase a new one.
Additionally, you may check with your municipality or visit the Recycle My Cell website to find a drop-off location in your area.
Protect your privacy
Delete all your personal information from computers and cell phones before recycling, selling or donating them. Remember, it is not as simple as just pressing the delete key and emptying your deleted items file. Recycling centres recommend properly wiping any personal data from your device and removing the SIM card. Consult the manufacturer's website, owner's manual, or your service provider for information on how to permanently delete your personal information before you recycle your device.
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