Dettah recycling centre

Waste Reduction and Recycling

Electronics Recycling Program

When electronics are disposed of in landfills, burned or left on the land and exposed to rain, snow and wind, materials can leach out that are harmful to the environment and human health. Recycling electronics helps keep these pollutants out of our environment.     

Electronics also contain valuable materials such as aluminum, copper, plastics and 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.

What can I recycle?

  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Computers (including keyboards, mouse, cables and speakers)
  • Printers, copiers, scanners and fax machines
  • Televisions
  • Monitors
  • Batteries and cell phones (Call2Recycle)

How does it work?

Electronics are safely and responsibly collected at recycling depots or at one-day electronics collection events coordinated by the GNWT.

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.

Will I get money back for my electronics?

There is no refund for recycling your electronics.

Will I be charged to recycle my electronics?

No. When you purchase new electronics, environmental fees are charged to cover the cost of recycling.

The fees collected go into the GNWT Environment Fund to help cover the costs of running the Electronics Recycling Program.  The NWT fees are comparable to other parts of Canada.

Fees are set to minimize the impact on smaller electronics that are more easily purchased outside the NWT and transported into the Territory by residents.

Electronics environmental fees

Are things I buy online included in these fees?

All online distributors who ship electronics into the NWT are required to register under the Program and to charge the environmental fees. This includes distributors like Amazon, Apple and Dell, which are already registered in our Program.

Ensuring online distributors are captured is a key part of establishing a level playing field for all electronics distributors in the NWT.

The NWT Program is aligned with Alberta’s electronics recycling program and it is expected the majority of NWT online sales are carried out by distributors already registered in the Alberta program.

What happens to recycled electronics?

Electronics collected at recycling depots are transported to Yellowknife, Hay River and Inuvik where they are stored at beverage container processing centres. When there is enough volume, they are shipped to an electronics recycler in Alberta for recycling. The electronics recycler is registered under the Government of Alberta’s electronics recycling program. This requirement ensures important environmental and employee health and safety standards are met and no electronics are sent to countries where standards are not in place to protect the environment and employee health and safety.

Why do we ship our recycled electronics out of the territory?

The volume collected is not sufficient to make an NWT facility feasible. Another key consideration is having measures in place to ensure the proper management of electronics to minimize risks to human health and the environment.

Expanded Electronic and Electrical Product Recycling Pilot Project

Residents in Yellowknife, Hay River, Inuvik, Fort Smith, Fort Providence and Norman Wells, Dettah, Enterprise, Kakisa, K'atl'odeeche First Nation, N’dilǫ will be able to bring an expanded list of electronics and electrical products to their recycling depots over the next two years. The pilot program recycles over 500 hundred products across seven categories:

  • small appliances and lighting
  • audio visual
  • telecom devices
  • power and air tools
  • games, toys and music
  • lawn and garden
  • solar panels
For a full list of all the items accepted under this pilot program, download the Full Electronics Recycling List   This expands on the GNWT’s existing Electronics Recycling Program, which has seen a total of 350 tonnes of electronics collected since it launched in 2016. Expanding the list of what can be recycled will mean even more products will be diverted from our landfills and become part of the emerging circular economy.

Over the next two years, the GNWT will collect data and compile research from this pilot project, to help design a sustainable program to best manage this electronic waste.

Regulations and policies

In 2016, The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) put in place Electronics Recycling Regulations under the Waste Reduction and Recovery Act. A Plain Language version of the Regulations is also available.