When a toaster goes on the fritz, the first inclination for many people is to toss it in the trash, but small household appliances are full of recyclable material.
From the cord to the plastic case to the metallic inner workings, all the different bits of a broken toaster can be taken apart and used again.
ElectroRecycle ambassadors Stephen Morgan and Krisandra Reid came to Prince George this week to spread the message about the availability of recycling programs for small appliances and power tools. Although the disassembling process can be labour intensive, Morgan said there's a significant environmental reward in fewer products going to local landfills and finding new uses for the metal parts.
"Aluminum is 95 per cent more efficient to get from a recycled material than from the ground, just because of the process that goes into [mining] it," he said. "So when you have a toaster that's basically made of aluminum, nickel, copper and mica, it's simple for them to shred it down and then melt it and make more stuff out of it."
The cost of recycling the items is built into the purchase price through an environmental levy and Morgan said the cost of processing the material decreases as the volume goes up so the three teams of ambassadors travelling the province this summer are trying to raise awareness.
On Wednesday afternoon, Morgan and Reid were at the Recycling and Environmental Action Planning Society creativity camp at Two Rivers Art Gallery teaching children about the different types of recycling options available.
"We asked the kids what they recycle and they said, 'cans, bottles, paper, bottles, cans, cans, cans' but when we say what happens if your toaster breaks, it's a bit of an unknown," Morgan said, adding teaching children at a young age about what types of materials can be recycled will help spread the message.
In addition to participating in the children's camp and doing other community outreach events, the ambassadors are also meeting with staff at the depots to answer any questions about ElectroRecycle.
In Prince George there are two locations that will accept broken household appliances and power tools: The Salvation Army on Ogilvie Street and the PG Recycle and Return-It Centre on Petersen Road.