Sony Canada tackles e-waste

Photo: www.sonystyle.ca

Is that old Sony stereo or TV gathering dust in your basement? Has your mantra become "one of these days?" Well, that day has arrived.

Is that old Sony stereo or TV gathering dust in your basement? Has your mantra become "one of these days?" Well, that day has arrived.

Sony of Canada Ltd. has launched a recycling program for all its end-of-life products at no cost to the consumer. No purchase is necessary. Just send in your old equipment.

Drowning in electronics
Electronic waste, also known as e-waste, is a growing concern, especially as we start replacing our old TVs with new digital, high definition models. Add the mountains of cell phones thrown out (130,000 per year) along with computers (20 million just in the USA) and it's easy to see why e-waste is such a problem. The UN Environment Program estimates we generate 20 to 50 million metric tonnes of e-waste worldwide every year. And that's expected to triple by 2010.

What's disturbing is that e-waste isn't ordinary garbage. It's garbage that leaks carcinogenic toxins into our water and soil. Even worse, a whole new sub culture of e-waste recycling has been created in developing countries, often done by children in poisonous surroundings.

Corporate responsibility
Sony is the first major electronic manufacturer to introduce such an extensive recycling program. As a founding member and active participant in the Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPSC) initiative, Sony helped develop provincial stewardship programs. But it wanted to do more.

"Sony Canada's goal is to divert all Sony products from landfill," said Doug Wilson, President & COO, Sony of Canada Ltd. "Sony Canada will offer its customers three new ways to return their Sony products for recycling."

Recycling routes
The three ways to recycle your Sony end-of-lifers are straightforward and require a minimal effort on your part.

  • Non-retail collection sites: Bring your Sony equipment to any of the 25 non-retail collection sites. This includes large items like your TV or stereo. Sony will pick up the tab and send your item to their recycling partner. Find your collection site at Sony & the Environment. (Note to Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and PEI -- Sony hasn't forgotten about you. Your program is coming.) Not living in Canada? Find your USA location at Sony Style USA.
  • Visit the store: Bring your handheld Sony electronics to any of the 79 Sony Style retail stores across Canada. You can drop off laptops, cell phones, rechargeable batteries, camcorders, cameras, Walkman personal stereos, PDAs, and cordless phones. Again, there is no charge. Find you nearest location at Sony Style.
  • Mail it: If you're not close to a collection site or retail store, you can mail your Sony product to the Sony Recycling Program, C/O GEEP, 220 John Street, Barrie, ON L4N 2L2. The one drawback is that you'll have to cover the shipping costs, so that TV may have to wait for awhile longer. Why not do a community collection and drive it into the nearest collection site?
  • Life after collection
    The interesting part happens once you've dropped off your item. Sony has done its homework to find the best company for environmentally responsible recycling.

    Sony's Environment Manager, Nick Aubry audited several companies before settling on Global Electric Electronic Processing Inc. (GEEP). This company has over 25 years of experience in the collection, transportation and processing of e-waste to turn it into a renewable resource.

    "GEEP's processes will allow various resources, including precious metals, to be recovered and reintroduced into the commodities market for use in manufacturing new products," said Aubry. "By having precious metals recovered it serves to support the long-term sustainability of our industry."

    The makeover
    During the GEEP recycling process, all packaging and hazardous materials are removed and then metallic and non-metallic materials are separated via its ERPI system. Copper, steel, aluminium, precious metals and clean plastic are removed and put aside to be resold. Glass is sent off to a lead refiner. Some of the mixed plastic recovered is converted to diesel fuel that powers the plant. In the end everything that can be recycled is reclaimed -- GEEP also has an objective of Zero Landfill.

    Clean break
    With Sony's recycling program in place, you can have a guilt-free goodbye, knowing your old electronics are NOT destined for the landfill. Enjoy that decluttered basement.