You may not be as organized as Martha Stewart (she has a three-page checklist), but if you’re like most of us, spring cleaning is a ritual not to be missed. It’s the one time a year we get really ruthless about cleaning up the dust and clearing out the clutter – except for our old electronics that is.
Our old TVs, computers, monitors, printers and fax machines tend to sit in our attics, basements and spare rooms year after year, either because we think we may need to use them again or because we don’t know where to get rid of them.
Well, if you haven’t used an electronic device in more than a year, you probably won’t use it again – ever. And if it’s still plugged in, it might even be costing you money just leaving it where it is.
Virtually all electronic devices – TVs, computers, printers, modems, DVD players, cell phone chargers and anything else with a clock, timer, adapter, memory or remote control – continue to draw power even when they’re not in use. “And that will add up on your electricity bills,” says BC Hydro’s Kari Reid, Program Manager in Residential Marketing. “As long as that device is plugged in, it’s using energy, whether it’s turned on or not.”
So this spring, why not make it a clean sweep? Get rid of all your old unused or broken electronics quickly and easily, but not in your local landfill.
“TVs, like computers and other electronics, have components that should be recycled,” says Kari. “The best thing is to take your unused electronics to a Return-It™ Electronics recycling depot, where they will get broken down safely and properly.”
The Return-It™ Electronics recycling program is managed by Encorp Pacific (Canada) on behalf of the Electronics Stewardship Association of British Columbia. The ESABC established the program in 2007 (in addition to its Return-It™ Beverage and Milk Container recycling programs) to respond to the fast-growing issue of e-waste.
Once you’ve recycled, says Kari, why not continue to reduce your energy use (and save your money) by:
• Plugging all your related electronics, like your computer, modem, monitor and printer, into a single power bar, then switching them all off at once when you’re not using them.
• Switching to a laptop. A typical laptop computer uses 53 kwh/year compared to a typical desktop and monitor that uses 215 kwh/yr.
• Unplugging your cell phone and other chargers as soon as the battery is topped up.
• If you’re in the market for a new TV, looking for one with the ENERGY STAR® label – it will use as much as 30 per cent less energy than a less-efficient model.
To find out more about the Return-It™ Electronics recycling program or to find a recycling depot near you, please visit return-it.ca/electronics.