Disposing electronics in community landfills creates unwanted pollution and is a waste of valuable resources. When disposed of in landfills, burned or left on the land where they are exposed to rain, snow and wind, these items may leach materials harmful to the environment and human health.
Electronics also contain valuable materials such as aluminum, copper, plastics, precious and rare metals, which can be recycled into new products. Recycling old electronics into new products minimizes environmental impacts related to extracting raw materials through mining and other activities.
Electronics, such as laptops, desktop computers and printers are now accepted for recycling in the Northwest Territories (NWT).
The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has enacted the Electronics Recycling Regulations under the Waste Reduction and Recovery Act. A Plain Language version of the Regulations is also available.
The regulations identify a list of electronic products that, when distributed new in the NWT, are subject to an environmental handling fee.
The fees collected go into the GNWT Environment Fund to help cover the costs of running the Electronics Recycling Program.
Electronics are safely and responsibly collected at recycling depots or at one-day electronics collection events coordinated by the GNWT. Bottle depots in the 10 largest communities accept electronics so residents can conveniently bring their electronics and beverage containers to one recycling depot.
Residents in communities without a recycling depot are encouraged to use electronics recycling depots in neighbouring larger communities until a collection event is held in their community.
The transportation and consolidation network in place for beverage containers is also used for electronics. Using a combined transportation network increases efficiency and reduces costs. Electronics are transported from communities and consolidated at beverage container processing centres in Inuvik, Hay River and Yellowknife. The electronics are prepared for shipping at these facilities and sent to a registered electronics recycling facility in Alberta that meets environmental health and safety standards.