The Trash Blog

Actively Promoting Reuse (Where Appropriate)

The stewardship program in charge of electronics recycling in BC is called the Electronics Products Recycling Association (EPRA), formerly known as the Electronics Stewardship Association of BC (ESABC).

They deal with end-of-life electronics. If they get your electronics, you can consider your electronics melted into shapeless slag. They do recover resources from this shapeless slag, but it’s important to note that they are an end-of-life program.

This is the difference between Reuse and Recycling.

The EPRA says on their in Annual Report 2011 that “The Program has implemented a number of measures to promote reuse as a [sic] alternative to recycling where appropriate. The Program encourages consumers through its website to determine whether or not reuse is a viable option for their electronic products before taking them to a collection site for recycling. To further promote reuse, the Program has partnered with the Recycling Council of British Columbia (RCBC) to develop a specialized material exchange for electronics. The British Columbia Materials Exchange (BCMEX) is designed for individuals who want to donate or sell small quantities of electronics at a nominal cost: http://www.bcemex.ca.”

The BCMEX sounded pretty cool to me, so I went online and checked it out. There’s a nice looking structure for the exchange, but apparently nobody is exchanging on it. There are 0 new listings, 0 total listings and 295 members.

I emailed a woman named Juleah Gabriel who is the administrator of the exchange to find out why nobody was doing any exchanging on the exchange. Perhaps they were just getting up and running or maybe they had a catastrophic computer failure that wiped their history out and took down their network.

Juleah emailed me back quite promptly and said that the exchange was definitely operational. She said they had “little to no listings just because we have limited funding at our organization, and the bulk of the advertising for the websites is initiated by the Cities and Regional Districts themselves.”

The EPRA Annual Report for 2011 also says, “ESABC pays 100% of the annual cost of operating the materials exchange, which is actively promoted on the ESABC and Encorp Pacific websites and in print advertising.”

Maybe I am being too coy in my understatement here, but I’ll leave you to decide after you’ve drawn your conclusions.

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This entry was written by Philip and published on March 22, 2013 at 5:10 pm. It’s filed under Advertising, E-Waste, Re-Use, Recycling and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Actively Promoting Reuse (Where Appropriate)

  1. Chris Stewart on said:

    Good!

    This essay prompted to think about how recycling and reuse considerations might impact the design of new products.

    I see more detail, more substance, and more spiraling into a thesis for the trash blog.

    We will all be waiting for the next installment, as always.

  2. Reuse is a terrific idea being implemented in every mom-and-pop “antique” shop at the edge of every town. We still need more, though. We need salvagers at dumps, for one thing. Then, as Chris suggests, designing for durability is important to conserving resources. How can we convince folks who manufacture new goods that it’s better for the planet overall when they make products to be used over and over for years? Currently they like to design for minimum product lifespan and maximum frequency of replacement. Would it be bad for the world consumer economy if products lasted longer?

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