“The [Eco Depot] manager told us that the awareness has been growing,” says Liu. “They get a pretty high volume. It’s the only depot in town and most people know that they can return all their old toasters, blenders, coffee makers, and power tools here.” 

ElectroRecycle, formerly known as Unplugged, is a free, non-profit program that collects and recycles household electrical products, in an effort to keep them from the landfill. It’s touted as reducing waste, saving energy, and keeping potentially hazardous materials out of landfills.

In the two years it has been running in Fort St. John, more than 21,234 kilograms of electrical products have reportedly been rounded up. The “ElectroRecycle Ambassadors” attribute much of that to the Fort St. John Landfill’s policy against accepting those items. 

“There’s a landfill ban here for all kinds of items. Small appliances and power tools can’t actually go there, so when people bring them, they’re told to bring them here instead,” Shaw explains.

“It’s not like that throughout the province,” adds Liu, “so in other places people might not know what exactly to do with it, and if they bring it up to the landfill there, not only are they filling it up unnecessarily, but they pay for it as well. At least with this program it gives the consumers an option if they want to dispose of these products in an environmentally friendly way.” 

There’s also the hope that a ban like Fort St. John’s will be adopted by other cities in the province. 

“I think that’s a really good initiative and I think that more municipalities and regional districts across B.C. need to adopt things like that in order to really ensure that people are recycling their small appliances and power tools,” says Shaw. 

Shaw and Liu were in Dawson Creek at the Exhibition and Stampede with the Northern Environmental Action Team, and are on their way to Fort Nelson this afternoon for an appliance round up. 

For more information on the ElectroRecycle program, click here.