There are still sparks of life in every electric tool.
A new province-wide recycling program launched this past week for unwanted or disabled electric outdoor power equipment. If you have an old or broken battery- or cord-powered electric lawnmower, weed whacker, pressure washer, leaf blower, hedge trimmer, chainsaw, lawn tractor, etc., those items can all be dropped off at new depot sites around BC.
In Prince George the depot is downtown at Allen's Scrap and Salvage (302 2nd Ave., on the east side of Queensway).
The program is administered by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute of Canada (OPEIC) and the Product Care Association, a pair of not-for-profit organizations. The costs of the program are funded by a legislated fee levied on the purchase of all these products. The new fee began on July 1.
"The new OPEIC program will help British Columbians reduce the amount of materials going to the landfill and help us recover valuable resources for use in new products," says Mark Kurschner, president of Product Care Association.
Prince George has the only active depot in northern BC, although all in the north are paying the fees on electric outdoor power equipment. The Product Care Association said this will soon change, if early indications bear out. There are likely depot arrangements coming together in larger northern towns like Fort St. John and Williams Lake but also smaller ones like Bella Coola.
"We have put out notices calling for interest in being a drop-off point, but the program is new so it sometimes takes some time," said association spokesman Jordan Best. "We hope to get there soon. It is very much the intention of the program to add them. That is the expectation people have in those unserviced towns - they have to pay the fee so they expect the service in their community."
The fee was approved by government in order to pay for a collection and transportation system to divert items from already overburdened landfills. Best said the public saves money in the long run if unnecessary items can be put on a productive path to use its still-useful parts or save energy rather than pay the costs associated to new or expanded garbage dumps.
The agency is committed to expanding from its 35 initial depots to more than 100 by the end of July, 2013. It was the same ramp up that occurred when they launched the same style of recycling service for small appliances (toasters, microwaves, vacuums, etc.) - a program expanded this month to include sewing machines and small power tools. They also run the recycling program for lights, which was expanded this month to include all residential bulbs and fixture equipment.
For a list of all the recycling programs underway in BC, including depots for the affected materials (everything from used oil to point to unwanted medications to televisions and computers) log on to the Recycling Council of BC's website - www.rcbc.bc.ca - a clearhouse of reducing, reusing an recycling in the province.