Winnipeg student hosts e-waste drive to properly dispose old electronics

Electronic waste is seen at Comimtel Recycling workshop in Lima, Peru. Guadalupe Pardo/Reuters

It started with a passion for climate change and turned into a five-month-long project.

Jordan Dearsley has been hosting e-waste (electronic waste) collection drives since April in hopes of making the earth a cleaner place to live.

Stationed in the Garden City Shopping Centre parking lot on Sunday, Dearsley, along with a truck and staff member from the Electronic Recycling Association, pulled VCRs, gaming consoles and old cords from people’s trunks.

“My hope is to divert electronics from going into the landfill and to be able to get these materials reused rather than just going straight to waste,” Dearsley said.

Read more: Indigenous-owned Winnipeg recycling company helping the environment and the community

The grade 11 student said people who have dropped off their old gadgets are thankful to be able to dispose of their things properly.

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Dearsley herself was surprised at the number of old electronics in her own garage which thankfully hadn’t made it into the trash.

“So many people really do care about where their stuff goes and they know that it’s important to just make sure it gets somewhere to be disposed of properly,” the student said.

If your old cell phone does mistakenly get put in the garbage, Living Green Living Well program coordinator at the Green Action Centre, Colleen Ans, said it won’t decompose for hundreds of years.

Read more: Composting catching on in Winnipeg; City still playing catch-up

While Ans said recycling is better, it’s not the best.

“There’s really just all those toxic chemicals that are leaching into the ground,” said Ans. “Recycling it will just mean that it kind of gets turned into another electronic or another part, but there will still be waste.”

Ans said your best option if your gear still works is to donate it to a local shelter accepting old electronics. If that’s not the case, she suggests a place like Mother Earth Recycling, where it will be repurposed properly.

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