ElectroRecycle goes beyond the blue box so you can recycle more

Recycling at a Community Round-up in Prince Rupert, B.C.

Recycling at a Community Round-up in Prince Rupert, B.C.

Recycling is bigger than just your blue box.  In B.C. you can recycle small appliances at bottle depots, recycling centers, select thrift stores and retailers and even at community round-ups and RecycleFests around the province!

Recycling has become second nature to most of us – especially here in B.C. We just wouldn’t think about tossing a plastic bottle in the trash. And that’s why tossing a blender in the garbage or, even worse kicking a vacuum to the curb to be picked up with the garbage feels so wrong. You can picture it atop a giant heap of landfill.

That’s where the ElectroRecycle™ program comes in.

We’re going beyond the blue box … to your local depot where you can drop off more than 400 small appliance, power tool and exercise products, bid a fond farewell and know that they are going on to a second life. And with more than 200 drop-off locations province-wide, there’s one near you. You can find one close to you here.

So what can you drop off?

Here’s the short story on the long list of products you can drop off at the depot:

  • Small appliances, power tools and home exercise equipment and,
  • They’re electrical – they plug in or run on batteries and,
  • They’re intended for residential use (not commercial)

You can find out exactly what you can drop off here.

Here’s the thing though…

A recent survey of British Columbians revealed that only 10% know about the ElectroRecycle™ program. But 74% of us have old, broken or unwanted products at home – products that we’ll happily take off your hands for recycling. And the benefits are pretty staggering so before we go there, perhaps you could help us up the awareness level with this convenient tweet:

So here’s the “staggering” bit … before the ElectroRecycle™ Program was introduced 2 MILLION electrical products were dumped in landfill each and every year! Since then, more than 16,000,000 kg have been diverted from landfill.

Check out the recycling facts in our infographic and see how much less energy it takes to reclaim glass, aluminum and steel instead of making it from new.

We’re adding new products and depots all the time. Sign up and we’ll keep you in the loop.

Who’s behind the ElectroRecycle™ program?

Well, for starters the British Columbia Ministry of the Environment whose recycling regulations in 2011 expanded to include small household electrical appliances and later, power-tools and exercise equipment like treadmills.

What’s interesting to note is that the government put the onus on manufacturers and those who bring these products into the BC market to provide end-of-life management or environmental responsibility for old and unwanted products.

Providing British Columbians easy access to recycle these 400+ products means province-wide drop-off depots, transportation to recycling processors who will dismantle and collect the various component materials to be reused and spreading the word to consumers. Not to mention a host of administrative requirements. Imagine how difficult this would be for every manufacturer, distributor, importer or retailer to organize independently.

Enter CESA

Instead of trying to go it alone, members of the small household appliance industry came together and formed the not-for-profit Canadian Electrical Stewardship Association (CESA) and tasked them with meeting the specific mandates of the Regulation on their behalf.

CESA is a federally-incorporated, not-for-profit organization that is led by the very industry whose products are stipulated in the regulations. In the end, CESA allows for a vastly more efficient approach to recycling thereby lowering fees and making it easier for consumers to participate.

Uh, about those fees you mentioned…

Ah yes. As with most recycling programs the ElectroRecycle™ Program is made possible by a recycling fee applied to new electrical products such as small appliances, power tools, and exercise machines. When you purchase any of the 400+ products we accept for recycling, you may see the fee added to your receipt or it may already be included in the price of the product.

Here’s what is important to note about the fees CESA collects:

  • It is not a tax. It does not get collected by or flow to the BC (or any) government. It gets remitted by the 400+ CESA members who report on their sales and remit the fees.
  • The recycling fee covers all program costs, including the collection, transportation and recycling of electrical products as well as marketing efforts to ensure British Columbians are aware of an environmentally responsible and convenient way of disposing of the old electrical small appliances.
  • The fees are determined by taking into account things like the expense to recycle a given item, weight, how many will likely be sold of an item in a year and the amount of recyclable materials for an item, for example. That’s why different products have different fees. One item does not subsidize another’s.
  • It’s not a deposit. While there’s no cost to drop off that old vacuum to the depot, unlike returning bottles, you won’t get your fee returned. But you will get the satisfaction that it’s one less bulky item increasing the landfill footprint in B.C. and that it takes far less energy to reclaim things like aluminum, steel, glass and plastic than to make it from scratch.
  • As a not-for-profit organization, CESA nor its members make a profit from these fees. In fact, as of October 1, 2018 fees on almost all of the 400+ products were reduced. Greater efficiencies in collection, transportation and processing are being reflected in lower fees for consumers.

Fees by category, before and after October 1, 2018.

And a reminder that you may see this fee on your receipt or it may be incorporated in your product.

Product Category Fee Per Unit as of July 1st, 2015 Fee Per Unit Effective October 1st, 2018
1.   Kitchen Countertop – Motorized Appliances $0.50 $0.50
2.   Kitchen Countertop – Heating Appliances $0.80 $0.80
3.   Kitchen Countertop – Heating Appliances (coffee/tea) $0.70 $0.70
4.   Microwave Ovens $6.25 $5.00
5.   Time Measurement & Display Devices $0.40 $0.20
6.   Weight Measurement $0.40 $0.30
7.   Garment Care Appliances $0.70 $0.60
8.   Air Treatment Appliances $1.00 $0.95
9.   Personal Care Appliances $0.40 $0.25
10. Full-size Floor Cleaning Appliances $2.50 $2.50
11. Smaller Floor/Surface Cleaning Appliances $0.50 $0.50
12. Test and Measurement Tools $0.50 $0.35
13. Hand-held Power Tools $0.80 $0.55
14. Bench-top, Demolition, Free-Standing Power Tools $2.20 $1.20
15. Sewing / Textile Machines $2.75 $2.75
16. Exercise Machines $2.60 $1.85
17. Sports, Leisure, Arts, Crafts, Hobby Devices $0.75 $0.75
18. Designated Very Small Items $0.20 $0.20

More help: accessories and beyond

If the batteries are integrated or difficult to remove, we’ll happily accept your product as-is. That goes for any accessories relating to the product.

If you’re interested in recycling products that ElectroRecycle doesn’t accept, check out these other electrical recycling programs: Programs such as EPRA, Call2Recycle and Recycle My Cell are available to recycle other types of electrical products.

Have a question? We’re here to help.

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You can also call the Recycling Council of B.C.’s Recycling Hotline at (604) 732-9253 in the Lower Mainland or 1-800-667-4321 throughout the rest of B.C.