Through a two-year $43 million pilot project, the Alberta government has approved the Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA) to use reserve funds to recycle up to 24,600 tonnes of electronics products that were not accepted previously in the program.

“An expanded electronics program has the potential to inject $30 million annually into Alberta’s economy and support 360 additional full-time jobs in the recycling sector. These new jobs will come from increased demand for electronics collection and transportation, as well as jobs associated with processing and manufacturing the recycled material into new goods. ARMA has a strong record already, and recently hit a major milestone of 10 million electronic products recycled in Alberta. This expansion will help us recycle even more.”

Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

Municipalities will receive funding for collecting the additional electronics included in the recycling expansion. Currently, municipalities do not receive compensation to manage electronics that are outside ARMA’s existing program.

“The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association is encouraged to see the Government of Alberta moving forward with an expanded electronics recycling pilot project. This project will be a welcome opportunity for our urban municipalities. It allows our members to be part of the continuum of returning end-of-life products to the manufacturing process.”

Cathy Heron, board member, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association

“Municipalities play an important role in enabling and supporting recycling programs across Alberta. The electronics recycling pilot project will enable Albertans to continue to be good environmental stewards and is responsive to ongoing requests to effectively recycle more products. Municipalities look forward to playing a continued role in this pilot project and the long-term objective to permanently expand our electronics recycle program.” 

Al Kemmere, president, Rural Municipalities of Alberta

The expanded electronics recycling products include: audio visual equipment, telecom, cell phone and wireless devices, electronic gaming equipment, small home appliances, portable power tools, toys, musical instruments and solar panels. There will be no cost to consumers to recycle the additional products during the pilot.

“We are excited for the many opportunities and benefits an expanded electronics recycling program could bring to Alberta’s burgeoning circular economy while continuing to contribute to the global effort to reuse and reduce waste. We’re confident we can do this because Albertans are our biggest champions and demonstrate on a daily basis a strong culture for recycling.”

Ed Gugenheimer, chief executive officer, Alberta Recycling Management Authority

An expanded program would also divert up to an additional 12,300 tonnes –the equivalent weight of 8,785 average cars – from landfills annually.

“Hi Tech Recyclers is eager and ready to ramp our facility operations to process what we expect to be nearly double the present volume of electronics recycling. This comes as welcome relief during uncertain times with COVID-19 and the impacts it has had on our economy and the many lives of Albertans who are now unemployed. Beyond our ability to provide more direct and indirect jobs through an expanded electronics recycling program is the fact that this announcement from the province means we are one step closer to keeping all electronics out of the local and global waste stream.”

Mark Schell, president, Hi Tech Recyclers

“At eCycle, we are very pleased to see Alberta take the necessary steps to protect the environment and keep more electronics out of landfills. We have a long history in Alberta and look forward to the future and working with the great Alberta municipalities to create new jobs and continue serving Albertans.”

Scott Loughran, vice-president of operations, eCycle Solutions Inc.

Recycling and waste management are essential services in Alberta during the pandemic. Municipal and collection sites remain open and Albertans are encouraged to practise physical distancing when bringing their recycling to collection sites.

Many collection sites have implemented COVID-19 mitigation measures and continue to manage electronics recyclables. In fact, the project could help offset other waste products currently destined for landfills as a result of the pandemic’s impact on reduced sorting capacity at some municipal sorting facilities.

The pilot will inform the possibility of a permanently expanded electronics program. ARMA will conduct community and stakeholder engagement prior to launching the two-year pilot.

Quick facts

  • The current electronics program accepts display devices, desktop computers, portable computers, computer peripherals, desktop printers/multi-function devices, desktop and portable scanners, fax machines, floor-standing photocopiers/multi-function devices.
  • ARMA operates provincial recycling programs for oil, tires, paint and electronics.
  • In 2018, the Alberta recycling sector’s annual economic value was estimated at $700 million in gross value add (GVA) and created more than 7,500 direct, indirect and induced jobs, from which $180 million and 1,570 jobs are attributed to ARMA specific programs.
  • Of the $180 million in GVA the industry injects into Alberta’s economy, about $50 million and 400 full-time equivalent jobs are attributed to ARMA’s current electronics recycling program.
  • There are currently 365 municipal electronics collection sites throughout the province.  
  • 96 per cent of Albertans live no further than a 20-minute drive to an electronics collection site.
  • Alberta set up Canada’s first end-of-life electronics recycling program in 2004.