Heart of the City: Recycling electronics

By asam asam August 12, 2013

The Electronic Recycling Association is a not for profit organization that is dedicated to reducing unnecessary waste and environmental impact by reusing electronic and IT equipment.Have you ever found yourself saving up for months to buy the latest and greatest electronic gadget, only to have the newer model come out mere days after you got the chance to buy yours?

You’re not alone.

So when you’re finally ready to upgrade again and part with your prized laptop or TV, what do you do with it?

Consider donating it to a philanthropic-style organization, like the Electronic Recycling Association (ERA), which collects electronic gear from Edmontonians so that it can be donated to charities who are in need of the items.

The ERA is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to reducing unnecessary waste and environmental impact by reusing electronic and IT equipment through to true end of life wherever possible.

The Electronic Recycling Association has a mission of reducing electronic waste through computer recycling, laptop recycling and computer donating services.

With depots throughout Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and B.C., the association provides a great way to recycle electronic equipment safely and securely, and ensures all usable material goes to a great cause.

The organization happily accepts the donation of desktops, laptops, printers, servers, phone systems, monitors, TVs, software and some specialty items.

Donations collected and refurbished are then sent to various community groups including other non-profits, schools and churches and range in size from one laptop to upwards of 50-plus units.

Donations co-ordinator of the Electronic Recycling Association, Anita Webber explains the process they use to determine what they do with incoming donations.

“Once donations are obtained, our ERA technicians test the units to determine if they are reusable or if they are at their true end of life. If they can be saved, they are prepared for donation and used to fill the many requests that are pending to various charities, schools, churches and low-income individuals or families.”

Preparing for re-homing of the electronics includes hard drive wiping services that guarantee the removal of all company or personal data according to military standards.

Not only are small personal donations accepted, pick up services can also be arranged through the organization to accommodate donations of a hundred items or more, if a business finds itself upgrading its systems and not wanting to see it end up in a landfill.

A glance at the ERA webpage reveals a collection of heartwarming hand-written letters from the folks at various charities who have been gifted with the goods in the past and reinforces the thought that all donations are endlessly appreciated and well-loved at their new homes.

If you are currently in need of a computer for yourself but are unable to afford one and have a few extra hours to spare a week, their volunteer program offers the opportunity to earn one by putting in over 24 give-back hours with the ERA.

So if you find yourself in the same situation as me, with three perfectly good older but unused laptops stuffed under your bed for the past year, consider dropping it off at their depot, so that this neat initiative sees deserving agencies will benefit from them.

If you would like to learn more about the Electronic Recycling Association, log onto www.era.ca or call 780-455-2088 for more information.

Their drop-off hours for donations are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Uniway Computers, 6776 99 St. in Edmonton.