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Volunteers want municipality to stay out of the e-waste business

e-waste day at PECICounty charity organizations have concern that if the County adds electronic waste bins to transfer sites, it will harm local fundraising efforts.

Councillor Gordon Fox raised the issue at Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting because Quinte Waste Solutions no longer provides the service in the County.

Phil St-Jean, Kinsmen Club past-president noted the club raised more than $4,500 in their share of proceeds from electronic waste collection days at the Picton Home Hardware parking lot. He is concerned the County installing bins could be competition that takes funds from charities and requested the municipality set aside their plan, which he says duplicates a service already provided free of charge to the community.

“Prince Edward County service clubs, schools, not-for-profits and charitable organizations have been providing this worthwhile service to our community for over seven years,” said St-Jean. “Our groups receive payment for our services through the Ontario Electronics Stewardship on a per tonne processed basis, approximately $220/tonne. Picton Kinsmen, Sonrise Christian Academy, the Prince Edward County Hospital Foundation, PECI Environmental Studies and Students’ Council have all benefited from the funds we raise by the collection and sale of waste electronics and by virtue of our hard work, so does the greater community.”

Robert McAuley, the County’s Commissioner of Engineering, Development and Works said he’s concerned that if the County didn’t offer the service no longer provided by Quinte Waste Solutions, people might return to putting their electronics in the garbage.

Volunteer Linda Ryan also requests the County change its plan.

Ryan started the program in the spring of 2009, as the County’s Waste Supervisor, with the co-operation of Picton Home Hardware. She said that by that fall, the County stopped accepting electronics waste at landfill sites.

Currently, eight to 10 events are held per year. As well, PECI and Wellington Lions host events.

“Home Hardware (Adam Busscher) is an avid and strong supporter of our hospital and started to hold two or three events with his staff a year and raised over $30,000 to date,” said Ryan.

Ryan said the County’s sites are staffed with just one or two attendants who already have a full workload and are not allowed to lift more than 40 pounds.

“They have to tip fees, watch and sort recycling, assist residents, ensure no hazardous material is being left and that the rules and regulations are being followed. Who will be assisting residents unload 25 to 300 pound televisions? It takes four strong volunteers to lift the 303 pound TV. One injured worker is not worth $135 per tonne.”

She noted that while tire drop off is free every Saturday at most landfills, she still sees them in the ditches.

“Go figure. The people who illegally dump are going to regardless of whether it’s free, convenient or not. It is what it is. We are already seeing a decline in the amount of waste we collect due to the fact the old stuff has been properly recycled and there is less out there.”

No decision was made by council as it was on the agenda as a discussion item.

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  1. wevil says:

    Chuck the county will have to add more staff to handle the e waste leave it to the charities to handle no cost to the taxpayer that way

  2. Chuck says:

    That’s fine if these organizations can cover every Saturday like the transfer stations. And transfer stations are ewaste free.

  3. Paul Cole says:

    I agree %100 with Phil why duplicate a service provided for free by Service Club and other local Non profit organizations that benefits this County in more ways then one.

  4. Phil St -Jean says:

    I wrote my letter to council the beginning of April.
    I was unaware or rather not informed that the it would be an item for discussion until the day before the meeting.
    I would have preferred to be there but could not attend in person to express my concerns due to work commitments.
    I sincerely hope that municipal staff will do the right thing and not compromise the ability of charitable organizations to raise money from EWR events.
    Our groups have provided this recycling service for many years now. It is difficult enough already for service and charitable groups to raise funds.
    We DO NOT need the County jumping in and competing with our efforts.
    The county’s dump manager Tanya Delaney sees a potential revenue source but is being very short sighted about the real impact she will have on the community she is paid to serve.
    If service organizations lose this revenue source will the county then increase the grants budget to meet the increased demand for assistance? Not likely !
    I strongly suggest she (Tanya) back off and not undercut volunteer efforts to help our community.

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