EMCS students bring recycled electronic trash to forefront

Student-led group is gathering information and hopes to raise public awareness to the issue

Our old phones, TVs, VCRs and old electronics all find their way, one way or another, to the dump.

What if they didn’t? What if they could all be responsibly recycled without tainting Mother Earth?

This is a question Edward Milne Community School student Triston Line and his team are trying to answer by raising awareness; and more to the point, are those claiming to be recycling these products following suit?

“Not exactly,” Line told the Sooke News Mirror, adding that often times “e-waste” continues even through the hands of companies that supposedly recycle all exterior and electronic components of a device.

“They’ll take the plastic out, melt it, take the rest of the stuff out and ship the rest of it to a Third World country as garbage,” he said, adding most of the waste product comes from places such as United States, Canada, Australia and Europe.

Line said the reason for shipping remaining contents out is that it’s cheaper than stripping out each individual raw material from a single electronic.

These wasted materials aren’t necessarily trash either; some include gold and palladium.

Line’s experience with computers goes way back, and has previously worked at an Apple Authorized Repair Facility. From this, he says he can detail some of the day to day events that took place and how the generation of e-waste comes about.

At the end of the day, e-waste ends up poisoning waterbeds, fertile farmlands and leads to lost crops, toxic water and numerous (and sometimes fatal) health-related side effects.

“We can do better than this. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Line said part of the reason e-waste has gone up in the last two years is because electronics are not made to be recycled as much as they used to, but more so to be replaced and discarded.

“Plasma screens have gotten a lot thinner, and glass has dropped in value, while plastic and metal are the norm,” he said, adding that many electronics, such as phones, are very fickle to fix, causing people to retire their devices at an alarming rate.

While Line’s group is still gathering info, their goal is clear: raise awareness.