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.