What is e-waste?
E-waste is otherwise known as electronic waste, including such items as old, broken or obsolete:
- cell phones
- computer towers and monitors
- keyboards and computer mice
- scanners and printers
- television sets
- video cassettes
- electronic scientific equipment
Why should I recycle my e-waste?
Although the e-waste stream is smaller than other waste streams, the problem posed is very real. Landfilling e-waste is harmful to the environment because substances such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, plastics and flame retardants can leach out into the soil and water. These substances can be toxic and have been associated with cancer and neurological disorders in children.
How can I do my part?
- reduce: can you upgrade your computer rather than buying a new one?
- re-use: if the equipment is still serviceable, consider passing it on to a colleage or charity
- recycle: have UBC Waste Management recycle your broken or old computer-related equipment
Where does UBC’s e-waste go?
UBC Waste Management takes campus e-waste to FCM Recycling for recycling of ‘Stewardship Program items’ (see below). FCM Recycling works under the Electronic Products Recycling Association British Columbia (EPRA) to process e-waste to reclaim raw materials such as glass, metals, and plastics, with all recycling operations taking place in North America.
What items does UBC accept as e-waste?
UBC accepts the following items as e-waste:
- desktop, laptop, all in one computers
- monitors (LCD and CRT)
- computer peripherals (mice, keyboards, cables)
- desktop/countertop printing products and multifunction products
- fax machines
- floor model copiers and printers
- medical and monitoring devices
- battery powered ride-on toys/e-toys
- IT or telecom devices
- audio video and gaming products
- electronic musical instruments
All personal electronic waste Stewardship Program Approved items are accepted FREE OF CHARGE from staff, faculty and students. A list of e-waste recycling fees (PDF) outlines any potential charges that may apply.
- any other e-waste items than those listed above
UBC Waste Management will accept non-Stewardship Program items from UBC departments only, but e-waste recycling fees (PDF) may apply. Please note additional charges may apply in large volume requests.
Drop-off and collection of e-waste
Drop-off – personal e-waste
UBC Waste Management accepts e-waste from 7.30 am to 3.30 pm, Monday to Friday. You can find us at the back of the University Services Building at the first loading dock on Agronomy Road at Lower Mall outside the back of Room 0150. Anyone from the UBC community (staff, faculty and students) can drop off their personal electronic waste, in small quantities.
Collection – for UBC departments
To have your departmental e-waste collected, please submit a service request to Building Operations Service Centre or call them at 604-822-2173. Please contact your Facilities Manager if you require further assistance.
**For your own personal and departmental security, you need to take adequate steps to ensure that no personal and/or confidential data remains on the electronic product prior to pick up or drop off.**
For further info UBC policies and best practices follow these two links:
Stewardship Program Approved Items will be accepted FREE OF CHARGE (a pick-up fee may apply)
Please be careful about who you contact to pick-up your e-waste. Many e-waste ‘recyclers’ may claim to recycle all materials in North America. However the only way to be sure is to use a recycler under EPRA or a certified ‘e-steward’ under the Basel Action Network.
If you wish to contact a recycler outside of UBC, we suggest:
- Freegeek Vancouver, a Basel Action Network ‘e-Steward’
- Encorp Pacific, who operate under EPRA
- FCM Recycling who operate under EPRA
- Computers for Schools BC a charity the refurbishes surplus computers for donation to BC Schools (K-12)
For more information on e-waste, check out the Basel Action Network.
Or read the article on students and faculty members at the UBC Graduate School for Journalism who won an Emmy Award for an investigative news documentary that explores the health and environmental impacts of electronic waste.