Check With the Manufacturer to See What Recycling Programs the Company Offers
Some have none still but most major electronics manufacturers are offering some sort of recycling options. In some cases, you'll only be able to participate if you paid an environmental fee when you bought your electronic device but others let you recycle your computer and other electronics for a fee. Some are even free, such as Dell Canada's free home system recycling program which makes it particularly easy to recycle as they'll come and pick up your old equipment right at your home.
This service may be subject to fees in remote areas.
Another computer recycling program of special note is Lenovo Canada's PC Recycling Service for individuals and small-business customers, which allows customers to recycle any Lenovo branded PC products, IBM branded desktop and notebook computers and monitors manufactured by Lenovo after May 1, 2005; and LenovoEMC and Iomega branded Network Attached Storage devices for free. (Follow the link to read the details of the program in each province or territory.)
Dell, Apple, Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Co., Canon, Cisco, IBM Canada Ltd., Panasonic, Sony, and Lexmark Canada Inc. among others, are members of Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPS Canada), a non-profit organization that is developing a national electronics end-of-life program in Canada. This program is based on establishing environmental handling fees across the country for each major electronics product line.
Find Recycling Programs Available in Your Area
Alberta was the first province to provide electronic recycling to its residents. The Alberta Recycling Management Authority was established in 2004 and today there are more than 180 collection sites across the province where people can drop off their computers, computer equipment, printers, and televisions. The program is funded by environmental fees collected on electronics at the time of purchase.
Saskatchewan has followed suit; Recycle my Electronics also provides collection sites across the province where residents can drop their desktop computers, laptops, printers and televisions off for recycling. B.C. offers a similar electronics recycling program.
In Nova Scotia, the Recycle my Electronics program recycles most electronics including cell phones; residents simply drop off their unwanted televisions, computers, printers, etc., at collection sites throughout the province.
Recycle NB runs the recycling electronics program in New Brunswick. To recycle anything from computers through cell phones, residents just need to take their old electronic device(s) to an appropriate drop off centre, (The linked web page provides a list of drop off depots.)
Electronics recycling in Ontario is managed by the Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES). Currently, the program keeps 44 different products out of our landfills through a network of recycling and reuse partners. Visit Recycle Your Electronics to find out where to recycle computers and other unwanted electronic devices from Smart Phones through fax machines. Quebec, like many other provinces in Canada, uses Recycle my Electronics for electronics recycling. Prince Edward Island does the same; see Recycle my Electronics for that province.
Newfoundland and Labrador has a provincial Recycle my Electronics computer recycling program which includes the recycling of cellular devices such as smartphones.
These programs are all linked separately because they are not identical; when you want to recycle your computer or other electronic device be sure to check the website first to see if what you want to recycle is acceptable. In some cases, cell phones such as smartphones are not part of the program, for example. If that's the case where you are, check out Recycle My Cell - there may well be a drop-off location for your phone near you.
Become Part of Industry Canada's Computers for Schools Program
Co-founded in 1993 by Industry Canada and the TelecomPioneers, the Computers for Schools program refurbishes computers and related equipment donated by governments and businesses and distributes them across Canada to schools, libraries and registered not-for-profit learning organizations. The computer equipment must be in good working order. Tax receipts are available for working equipment that meets the minimum standard based on fair market value.
Donate to a Charity or Non-Profit Organization
A quick web search or through the phone book and a few calls or emails and you're sure to find some worthy organization that could make good use of your old but perfectly working computer equipment.
In Kitchener, Ontario, for instance, The Working Centre accepts donations of used computers to provide people with access to affordable computers.
Local newspapers are also a great way to find out what local charities are up to and what their needs are.
If you live in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal, or close to other major centres in Canada the Electronic Recycling Association, a non-profit organization, collects old computers for donations and recycling. They accept computers, monitors, laptops, printers, and accessories and have drop-off depots and pick-up services.
Watch for Electronic Cleanup Events
Your province or municipality may hold regular or semi-regular "roundups" for gathering computer equipment and electronics for recycling - as do private companies now and again. Watch for these events in local newspapers, and on radio and websites.
The Bottom Line
Electronics recycling is a wise choice, especially with landfills filling. And today's electronics recycling programs can handle a lot more than just computers. Printers, computer and video gaming peripherals, home theatre in a box systems, phones, answering machines - even battery powered ride-on toys, e-toys and musical instruments with electronics - can now be recycled in many places. So before you throw it out, find out if you can recycle it instead.