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Putting an end to landfilling
electronic equipment


Christa Methot
Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corporation
October 2004

D uring the summer of 2003, Noranda (one of the world's largest recyclers of electronics and a major recycler of copper, nickel, gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and lead) opened their third end-of-life electronics recycling facility in North America and the first in Canada.


(image: Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corp.)


Having found a market to recycle 100% of end-of-life electronics including not only computers, but also printers, fax machines, and copiers, the Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corporation developed an Electronic Waste Recycling Program that was launched in January 2004.

Pleased to be the first solid waste commission in Atlantic Canada to take on such an initiative, the Corporation was able to do so through funds received from the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund. In November 2003, the Corporation was awarded $62 000 through ETF to launch the electronic recycling initiative for residents and businesses of southeastern New Brunswick.

"The Corporation began a residential computer drop-off service in 2001. Reusable computers were donated to NB Computers for Schools while non-reusable materials were sent to a local recycler," comments Bill Slater, General Manager. "It was not long before we noticed that most computer equipment was not usable for the Computers for Schools Program while in 2002 the local market for the non-reusable hard-drives fell through."


Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corporation
Electronic Recycling Launch, February 27, 2004
Mouse-cord Cutting ceremony with Bill Slater Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste General Manager, Cindy Thomas Plant Manager – Noranda Recycling Facility in Brampton, ON, Minister of Environment & Local Government Brenda Fowlie, and Corporation Chairman Norman Crossman


During the program funding (January - March 31, 2004) the Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corporation accepted, free of charge, residential and commercial electronic waste. Examples include: computers, hard drives, mainframes, monitors, circuit board, typewriters, video games, calculators, telephones, cell phones, fax machines, photocopiers, pagers, VCR/DVD players, and audio/video equipment.

During this time, the Corporation recovered and diverted from landfill approximately 5500 pieces of end-of-life electronic equipment and shipped four 53'-tractor trailer loads of the e-waste to Noranda Recycling in Brampton, Ontario.

Every Friday and Saturday, residents and businesses of Westmorland, Albert, Kent and Kings counties are able to responsibly dispose of their end-of-life electronic waste at the Westmorland-Albert solid waste management facility. The fee remains free for residential waste; however, a tipping fee of $52.60 applies to commercial e-waste.

"Recycling electronic equipment is quite a costly endeavor," notes Bill Slater. "One tractor trailer load of approximately 15 metric tonnes of e-waste cost close to $20 000 to recycle. Landfill diversion is our main goal. That's why in our eyes, the cost of landfill space versus the cost of recycling balances itself out in the long run."

By the end of 2004, the Corporation estimates that 6 trailer loads of electronic equipment, weighing approximately 80-85 metric tonnes, will have been diverted from landfill and sent for 100% recycling.

Presently, reuse opportunities do exist for electronic waste. Computers and other equipment can be donated to local charities, youth groups, and NB Computers for Schools. For more information on the Computers for Schools Program, visit www.schoolnet.ca/cfs-ope.

Possibilities exist through electronic equipment manufacturers. Manufacturers must be contacted for shipping and cost guidelines. In most cases recycling fees are required.


Westmorland-Albert staff unloading collected end-of-life electronic equipment during the mobile collection campaign. Residents and businesses were able to bring and properly dispose of their electronic waste at the collection trailer.

Also, Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPS Canada) is developing a national electronics end-of-life program in Canada. As a not-for-profit organization, EPS Canada will work with an array of partners and stakeholders to design, promote and implement sustainable solutions for Canada's electronic waste problem.

Their goal is to develop a national program with standard environmental handling fees and reporting across the country while still allowing for provincial flexibility. This is a model that is in place today in many European countries and is considered a key element of successful program implementation.

October 1, 2004, marked the first day of Alberta's new electronics recycling program, the first province-wide initiative of its kind in Canada. In the initial phase of the program, televisions, computer monitors, CPUs, laptops, electronic notebooks and printers are accepted for recycling at various drop-off locations. Starting in February 2005, an environmental fee, ranging from $5 to $45 (depending on the item), will be placed on each product included in the program.

What does the future of electronic recycling hold for New Brunswick? Currently New Brunswick, along with the other Atlantic Provinces, is working to develop an electronic stewardship program. This program will allow other regions of NB the opportunity to effectively divert e-waste from landfills and allow the Corporation to maintain the Westmorland-Albert Electronic Recycling Program.

In the interim, the Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corporation will continue the Westmorland-Albert Electronic Recycling Program for its residents and commercial customers in southeastern New Brunswick. Proud of its commitment to landfill diversion, this initiative demonstrates the Corporation is truly a leader in responsible waste management on both a provincial and national level.

For more information please contact:
Christa Methot, Community Relations Coordinator
Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corporation
Tel: (506) 877-1050
Email: publicaffairs@westmorlandalbert.com