Friday, March 20, 2015

Plans for annual Super-Drive now in overdrive

Earth Hour is coming up again, and with it, Barrie’s own Earth Hour Super-Drive, hosted by the local Green Party. So for the 6th year running, it’s time to let us lend a hand with your spring cleaning, as you clear out all the old electrical or electronic junk from your home and sell it to us for cash.
We also take scrap metal
We can take anything that has a plug, battery, or chip, and now we even take (and pay for) the batteries, too. So old electronics, like computers or printers or scanners, can all be recycled. But we also accept simple electrical devices, like hair dryers or lamps or vacuum cleaners or coffee makers. And kids’ toys that flash or beep – or used to – along with scrap metal, printer cartridges, old digital cameras, old cell phones, old laptops, electric toothbrushes, and so on. Working or busted, it’s no matter to us, we’ll weigh it and pay you cash on the barrel. Unlike many recyclers (such as our partner GreenGo Recycling), we don’t have a minimum weight for payout, which means even a small load of junk gets you some change.
Why do we do this? Partly because all of these materials are bad news in landfill, where the various metals can leach toxins into our water. But also because the process of mining virgin metals and other materials rips up huge pieces of nature and leaves large piles of toxic tailings. So when you divert electrical materials from landfill, not only do you prevent pollution at the dump, you also prevent it wherever things are mined around the world.
And we do it on the same day as Earth Hour, because it’s another reminder of our individual and collective impact on our shared Earth. For an hour on a Saturday evening, we’re asked to turn off all non-essential electric devices (lights, TVs, computers) and enjoy each other’s company like in the days of old. One thing I’m starting to wonder is if we couldn’t have Earth Hour at a time of higher energy demand, like a weekday afternoon, instead of a low-demand Saturday evening. Then we would be reducing the amount of peak power production, even if only by a symbolic amount. At least that way schools and businesses would be able to take part. However, it’s a global event and I’m not sure how this time was chosen or who would be able to change it.
As always, the Super-Drive takes place behind 110 Dunlop St. W, in the rear parking lot off Toronto Street around the corner from Meineke. And what makes it so super is not just that we pay you for your junk, but we also accept food donations for the Food Bank and clothing for the Barrie Free Clothing Centre. The Super-Drive runs from 10 AM until noon on Saturday, March 28th. We look forward to salvaging even more e-waste this year and bringing in even more donations.
So get your spring clean in gear, grab that old junk out of the closet, garage, shed or attic, and lighten your load while putting a bit of cash in your pocket. You’ll be helping us, yourself, and our planet all at once. Super!

Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner.
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.

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