Monday, February 08, 2010

An Open LEtter to Town Council

Last Friday I was standing in line to replace my SHAW modem. As person after person was told to just go home and toss out their old modem I started to wonder if that was the best solution.

In our increasingly electronic culture there is an increase in the amount of “special waste” that really should be diverted from our landfill. One example is flourescent bulbs, which are already collected by Public Works staff here in town. But there are 2 other categories I wonder about.

The first is alkaline batteries. These often include mercury and other toxic substances and should go into a special waste handling stream. But what do we do with them here? Is there a special place for collection of dead batteries? We have 2 bags of them we have saved up to avoid putting them in the landfill.

The other is e-waste. This is the one I was wondering about last Friday. Computers, monitors, TV's, cellphones etc. – these are a source of heavy metals in our landfills. Many places across the country are setting up e-waste collection sites. And not only in large centers. Last winter I was in a town smaller than this town and shown their e-waste collection site.

What can we do with our batteries and our e-waste? It is inappropriate to simply toss them in the landfill and let their toxins seep into the ground. Is there a plan now for dealing with them? Is there a plan in development? Could we maybe partner with other communities to make dealing with these special wastes more economical? We have a duty to care for the wondrous part of the province in which we live, I just want to help make sure we do the best and most we can.


  1. I wish, I wish for a solution...
    check out this 60 Minutes special as it "Follows America's Toxic Electronic Waste As It Is Illegally Shipped To Become China's Dirty Secret". This story was first published on Nov. 9, 2008. It was updated on Aug. 27, 2009.

  2. Actually, Gord, in your case, there is a solution. Alkaline batteries are collected by The Source and several other places in the Big Smoke East of You. As well, there is an e-waste collection depot. I'll gather some more info for you, if you like. The material you've mentioned could easily be a part of your luggage when you come to TBSEoY for the Presbytery meeting at the end of February.

  3. That may be so PEter, and we may well do that. But my hope would be that the powers that be make it easier for folks from here--on the principle that the easier it is for folks to divert special waste the more likely they are to do so.

  4. Absolutely right, Gord! Good luck!