by Nestor Arellano

Have you got an old TV set lying around at home, an outdated cell phone or a computer suddenly rendered obsolete by the latest laptop of tablet device?

Don’t throw them in junk pile. Do you part in reducing Canada’s e-waste. Why not bring your no-longer-in-use electronics to the Green Living Show at Toronto’s Exhibition Place this weekend and get in for free? Samsung Electronics Canada, one of the event’s sponsors is offering free admittance for every piece of discarded electronics handed over at the door of the show which runs from April 15 to 17. The world’s landfills have been filling up with millions of tons of electronic waste that seep toxic compounds into the air and water. Figures released by Statistics Canada last year indicate that the country exported more than 412,000 tons of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials in 2007.Canada exported approximately 412,000 tons of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials in 2007. The United States generated 2.04 million tons of TVs, cell phones, and computer waste products in 2007, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The United Nations Environment Program estimates that no less than 20 to 50 tons of electronic waste is generated each year globally.

Eventually as much as 50 per cent of these find their way in landfills and unregulated recycling depots in various parts of the world where workers with little on no protective gear come into contact with toxic materials.

Often products are also burned to separate reusable materials and harmful fumes escape into the environment. For a look at what harm elements such as lead, beryllium and mercury can do to the human body follow this link from Global Electric Electronic Processing.

For information on how e-waste is being handled in Ontario, read: There’s gold in e-waste – Olympic gold that is

But despite the best efforts the province’s e-waste recycling program still needs help and a makeover. “The problem is — due to lack of incentives or information — many businesses are not getting their e-waste into the system. What ends up being collected is mostly e-waste from homes,” according to Jo-Anne St. Godard, executive director of the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO).

Last year, a survey by Samsung Canada found that while Canadian SMBs believed recycling IT products was the right thing to do, a majority of these businesses did not consider the proper disposal of hardware when purchasing IT products.

Device users at every level also need to be educated on the proper disposal and recycling of e-waste, according to Matt Weiner, marketing manager of Samsung Electronics Canada. “The Green Living Show is a great opportunity for consumers to learn about the benefits of sustainable living through safe electronics disposal.”

Samsung has been giving out free show tickets in exchange for e-waste for several years now. Weiner said last year was a “banner year” for the company because they collected more than 30,000 lbs. of e-waste. “We intend to top that this year,” Weiner said.

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