Help the environment and the 200,000 people who make use of a United Way service in Burlington/Greater Hamilton.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 22, 2012  The United Way campaign isn’t going to go away – unless of course, we go right over the top and reach the $2.1 million Burlington target.  But if we do that – you know what’s going to happen: Paddy Torsney will want to set a new record for the city.  This is a very competitive woman.

The next opportunity to be part of a campaign that is easy for those of us that have a decent job, live in a secure setting and are amongst people who love and care for us; we are able to contribute.  There is an electronics collection taking place at Best Buy on Brant Street.

The United Way has partnered with Greentec’s E-Waste Collection program, which collects unwanted electronics that clutter up our offices, drawers, basements and garages – and recycles them responsibly, diverting it from local and international landfill sites.

Most of these would get dumped into a landfill or shipped to some African country where desperately poor people would scavenge to collect scrap they could sell. The Burlington United Way has arranged for electronic waste to be collected with funds then going to the United Way campaign.

On Saturday, November 24 from 10am to 4pm,  the public is invited to recycle their unwanted electronics including, desktop and laptop computers, cell phones, ink/toner cartridges, printers, stereo equipment and display devices up to 29”.

Here’s how the program works:

You take your stuff to the location in your community – in Burlington that’s Best Buy, 1200 Brant Street, Burlington.  They weigh it and based on the kind of stuff you are giving them a price is determined and the funds donated to the United Way.

GreenTec is in the waste collection business and recycling is a very large part of what they do.  They’ve involved themselves with the United Way with a program that has the amount they pay for your stuff going to the United Way.

GreenTec is an approved primary processor with the Ontario electronic Stewardship Program.  They have a number of programs one of which has them paying for the planting of trees based on what they process in the way of electronic waste.  It’s an interesting marketing model and if  it gives us a place to take electronic equipment we don’t want and put some money in the hands of people who know how to care for people in need – why not.

You were going to throw the stuff out anyway and hope the Regional garbage collection people would take it away.  All you have to do is drive to Best Buy and give it to the GreenTec people.

United Way gets the cash; we keep a couple of tone of stuff out of landfill sites and you’ve got more space to use at home – one of those everybody wins.

Now, if Best Buy offered you a 5% discount once you have done your environmental thing and you could sign that 5% over to the United Way – we would be well on our way to reaching that target.  Back in 2010 we had to give the Burlington United Way campaign a bit of a boost to reach the top.

Couple of conditions – easy ones to work within.  Display devices can’t be more than 29 inches.  Other than that – well here is what they will take:  desktop and laptop computers, cell phones, ink/toner cartridges, printers, stereo equipment and display devices.

I recently returned a dozen laser toner cartridges to a supplier I was very unhappy with – not mentioning any names but they are located close to the Walkers Line – Dundas intersection; I could have given them to GreenTec.

Millions of cell phones get dumped by users – they can be recycled. Keep the things out of landfills where they don’t do anyone any good.

GreenTec could not exist at a better time. E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream worldwide and each year, for example, more than 300 million empty printer cartridges are generated in North America alone. GreenTec is responsible for diverting millions of pounds of electronics from landfills, in turn providing nearly $5 million in fundraising to its members in exchange for the e-waste they collect.

In addition to giving monetary rewards to its members for their efforts, Think Recycle donates funds to have one tree planted through American Forests or Tree Canada, for every 24 Qualifying Products collected by United Way. To date, Think Recycle is responsible for the planting of more than 57,000 trees effectively removing 8,700 tons of carbon from the atmosphere.

GreenTec has placed a huge bin on the Best Buy parking lot and advise that they can get 10,000 lbs into the thing – 12,000 if they squeeze.  Let’s see what we can do to fill that bin – Best Buy parking lot – Saturday 10-4 pm.


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