SUNDRE — The community will have an opportunity to off-load outdated electronic equipment that’s been sitting around collecting dust and taking up space.
Council agreed last week to support administration’s effort to proceed with preparing plans to conduct a community-wide electronic waste collection drive. The move came by way of motion during the regular Feb. 8 meeting held by teleconference.
“Electronics Recycling Association reached out to me just to find out if the town offices had any electronics that we could donate toward their organization,” said Chris Albert, director of corporate services.
Upon bringing the matter up with Linda Nelson, chief administrative officer, Albert said they were of the opinion that a collection drive might be a better idea.
Having researched the not-for-profit association, Albert said the organization takes “the equipment, they refurbish it, they wipe any of the information off of any hard drives or anything like that.”
Once refurbished, the equipment is then donated back to other non-profit organizations across Canada. Items that cannot be restored to functional use are instead recycled so certain metals used in computers might be salvaged, he said.
“It seemed like a really good idea, and if we can get the community to participate, it keeps electronics out of the landfills,” he said.
“I think that’s probably always a really good thing,” he added.
Having investigated how other municipalities have approached similar efforts, Albert said many only do weekend collection drives.
“We kind of figured the most bang for out buck would probably be to have a full couple of weeks, where during that time period, residents and businesses can drop off their electronics. We’ll accept them at the town office,” he said, adding equipment would be screened against a pre-authorized list to ensure donated items can actually be used by the association.
At the end of the collection drive period’s yet-to-be determined timeline, the association would then come pick up the load, he said, adding administration was suggesting a timeframe ranging between two weeks to a month.
“And we’d start it as soon as possible,” he said, seeking council’s support to proceed with planning the collection drive.
Coun. Charlene Preston so moved, initiating a discussion.
Coun. Todd Dalke asked if the local schools had been contacted to determine whether perhaps computer clubs could benefit from donated, refurbished equipment.
Additionally, Dalke said during the ongoing pandemic, many students are studying from home but they don’t all have adequate access to technology for virtual lessons.
“I think the community could certainly use that,” Dalke said, adding he would hate for a lost opportunity to pass by.
Albert said he could certainly request that the association look as locally as possible for donations before the organization sets its sights elsewhere in the province or even country.
“But I think it would be more up to the individuals or the computer clubs or the groups that you’re talking about, to reach out to ERA, instead of the town” making that request, said Albert.
Mayor Terry Leslie said the Chinook’s Edge School Division strives to ensure that every high school student who requires a computer or digital device is able to obtain one.
“They also do their recycling, refurbishing of their equipment,” said Leslie, confessing he was uncertain regarding the situation for K-8 students.
The mayor followed up with a question to administration, asking how and where donated electronic items would be stored.
The municipality, explained Albert, would be providing storage space near the town office, while the association would offer collection bins on pallets to facilitate the effort.
The garage behind the town office, which typically houses both of the ice resurfacing machines, one of which of course remains at the arena, would in the short term have a sufficient amount of space to accommodate two or possibly three containers for at least a couple of weeks.
Additionally, the association informed administration that the bins can be hauled out within a couple of days after receiving a request to pick them up, he said.
Coun. Richard Warnock supported the initiative, but said the project’s timeframe should not span beyond a maximum of three weeks.
“I don’t want to see an onerous task on administration to have to deal with this for a month or more. I just think that’s too long,” said Warnock.
Coun. Charlene Preston agreed, and suggested that pending a successful first attempt, there could always be an opportunity to conduct a second collection drive later in the year.
Without further questions, the mayor called a vote on the motion, which carried unopposed.
Visit era.ca for more information about the association.