The drive-thru drop-off of old or busted electronics held on May 1st drew a large turnout.
Held at the parking lot of the Maples Community Centre from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., the event was organized by E-Waste Manitoba which was founded by Aira Villanueva. A community youth leader and student at the University of Winnipeg, Villanueva explains that she set up E-Waste Manitoba to encourage people to dispose of their electronic waste for proper recycling or refurbishing.
Villanueva shares that another key factor for organizing the event is to win a national competition being run by the Electronic Recycling Association or ERA. According to its website, the amount of the scholarship is $10,000. The winner will be decided on the quantity and quality of equipment collected and how much awareness was done for the event through online and offline marketing platforms.
A container van of the ERA was on-site as storage for the collected items. Two ERA field staff and a couple of local volunteers were on hand to assist motorists with their electronics that were being dropped off. This columnist drove from Steinbach to bring a bunch of cables, busted smartphones and tablets.
Aside from partnering with the ERA, E-Waste Manitoba created awareness about its eco-friendly initiative by teaming up with several community organizations. Among them are Barangay Canada, the Filipino Music & Arts Association of Canada, Inc. (FMAACI), and CEM – Caring for our Environment for Sustainable Prosperity.
In a statement on social media, CEM President Ramon ‘Jun’ Sales explained the importance of the collection drive. “E-waste is the world’s fastest growing waste stream and the amount is estimated to increase to 52.2 million metric tonnes by 2021 unless this trend is reversed,” he said.
Sales went on to say that, “Fifty million metric tonnes of e-waste are generated every year, equaling the weight of nearly 4,500 Eiffel Towers.” He also pointed out that much of electronic waste is incinerated or placed in landfills — causing pollution, human health hazards and the loss of valuable finite resources.
For those who missed out on the first event, Villanueva assured that she is planning to organize another one on May 16 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. outside of the Ralph Brown Community Centre.
Kris Ontong is an award-winning community advocate and a finalist in the 12th RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards. He is the co-founder of Barangay Canada, and hosts its weekly video podcast.