Recycler operating within the rules

Island Return-it has been a part of the Cowichan Valley for over 20 years.

Re: Lamp Trashing Prompts Recycling Question

Island Return-it has been a part of the Cowichan Valley for over 20 years.

In that time, we have evolved from a simple bottle depot into a recycling centre. We are under the umbrella of 15 different stewardship programs which are government regulated. Each program that we are signed up for has to follow B.C.’s environmental regulations regarding responsible recycling procedures.

Electro Recycle, EPRA (Electronics Producer Recycling Association), Regeneration, to name a few, are all stewardships that provide the public with avenues to properly recycle their small appliances, electronics, and paint at no cost.

Other than paint, which we are allowed to set aside for people to re-use before it gets recycled, for us to participate in the Electro Recycle and EPRA programs, we are required to sign contracts that specifically state that under no circumstance can we redistribute, dismantle, or resell program items to anyone other than the contracted recycler.

You can find this information on our website as well as the stewardship websites.

When you bring your items to Island Return It, they are handled according to industry standards.

In the case with Mrs. Genereaux, the staff member at the counter made a mistake by allowing her to take the lamp, harmless as it may seem. It had been relinquished to him by another customer.

Our manager, tried to explain the recycling process and Island Return It policies to her. [Manager Jen] Crabbe also apologized for the misunderstanding that the employee had caused. We do not blame her for being upset, and we understand that it’s a shame to see what appears to be perfectly fine items be sent off to be dismantled. At least these items will be fully recycled and turned into something new.

“Recycling isn’t recycling there,” she is quoted saying. Mrs. Genereaux is confusing recycling with reusing or repurposing. Close to 100 per cent of items we collect are recyclable items (electronics, bottles/cans, microwaves, light bulbs, etc). This means we send them off to a processor to be dismantled and separated into their raw material.

You can visit the websites of all stewardships groups we work with to see how each individual group works. These are companies built on recycling and they take it seriously. Island Return-It Duncan collected and sent to get recycled, over 25 million refundable containers last year. We also collected, and sent for recycling, roughly 330 metric tonnes of electronics, and 25.3 metric tonnes of small appliances.

As Crabbe was quoted saying in previous article “Lamp trashing prompts recycling questions” at Island Return-It, we try to encourage people to take their working items to a thrift store or to give them away before bringing them to us. People must understand that we are here to collect end of life items. We strongly believe that this throw-away society that has been created is truly unfortunate. Electronics, small appliances and other items are not built to last. Items become out of date and we see so much stuff come through our depots that may be good or need a small screw to fix says Vince Spronken, owner operator of Island Return-It. Fortunately, there are recycling depots around in order to recover these products.

We at Island Return It are proud of what we do, for the environment and the community.

Jen Crabbe is the manager of Island Return-It Duncan location.

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