Assistant manager Johnny Ryu handles incoming TV sets at the Semiahmoo Bottle Depot in South Surrey.

Assistant manager Johnny Ryu handles incoming TV sets at the Semiahmoo Bottle Depot in South Surrey.

Run on new TVs for playoffs adding more e-waste

Depots hit new record even before Canucks castoffs arrive

More discarded TVs and other unwanted or dead electronics were dropped off at B.C. recycling depots in May than any month before.

And although many Canucks fans upgraded their TVs for the playoffs, officials say most of the resulting discards likely haven’t started to make it to depots yet, potentially adding a further bump this summer.

“We may not see the old product come in for a couple of months,” Encorp Pacific logistics manager Tyler Garnes said.

“They tend to sit in basements or garages for a while before ending up on a ‘honey do’ list.”

Staff at the Semiahmoo Bottle Depot in South Surrey said they’ve definitely received many more old TVs in recent weeks – and almost all of them still work.

Online classified websites are also jammed with ads for free or cheap TVs as some households try to find new homes for their old sets before consigning them to the recyclers.

But Garnes said the increased volume of electronic waste coming to depots so far this year is mainly the result of more stereo equipment now showing up.

A total of 1.85 million kilograms of e-waste was dropped off at Encorp-run Return-It depots in May – a 40 per cent increase from a year earlier.

Unwanted amplifiers, speakers and other old stereo components – which have been accepted since last summer – account for the bulk of the gain, he said.

Garnes said they’re also seeing a lot of older boom boxes as well as Walkmans and MP3 players.

TVs remain the top electronic item depots receive.

“It’s almost 60 per cent of what we get in,” Garnes said. “People just want the new technology.”

While most of the incoming TVs are big old CRT-type boxes, some broken LCD flat screen models also arrive.

The e-waste depot system – which started out taking TVs and computer equipment before expanding to audio and video equipment – is now starting to take small appliances and smoke detectors as well.

It’s slated to expand again in the summer of 2012 to cover large appliances, electric tools, toys, sports gear, lighting and virtually anything else that has an electric cord or takes batteries.

Eco-fees are charged on new TVs and other electronics to cover the cost of recycling and collection. (For more info see http://www.return-it.ca/electronics/)

The e-waste recycling system aims to keep electronics out of local landfills or from being exported overseas to be salvaged by impoverished workers in dangerous conditions.

An audit system promises products are responsibly recycled.

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