Eating & Drinking

URBAN HIPPIE: Score tons of new electronics for Christmas? An e-primer on getting rid of e-waste

Urban Hippie by Jen Lahey is published every second Tuesday at Follow Jen on Twitter ‏@Jen_Lahey.

Ah, January: back to work and routine for all, and if past experience tells us anything, lots of us are probably distracting ourselves by playing around with newly acquired electronics left by good ol’ Santa. And with new e-readers, computers, and phones comes the obviouys: old electronics relegated to the sidelines. Some of you may have passed these still-good gems on to friends or family, but some of them may now officially be under the category of something called e-waste. Herewith, a primer on e-waste, why you should care about it, and top tips for dealing with your newly old electronics.

What it is:

Electronic waste, or e-waste, refers to discarded electronic products, including mobile phones, laptop computers, monitors, TVs, VCRs, phones and cell phones, e-readers, printers, fax machines, photocopiers, and MP3 players, computers, televisions and audio equipment.

According to the United Nations, 20-50 million tonnes of e-waste are generated globally each year, and it’s estimated that we Canucks generate 200,000 tonnes of e-waste per year, although that number may actually be much higher.  The City of Ottawa says that here in the capital we generate 3,000 tonnes of the stuff, or 300 trucks full.