Fusion phasing out e-waste recycling program

Safety concerns and a significant drop in revenue have forced Ingersoll's Fusion Youth Centre to phase out its electronic waste recycling program by 2018.


Concerned about tripping and falling object hazards in the electronic waste collection bin at Fusion, centre management had representatives from the joint health and safety committee conduct an assessment on the bin and stacking process.


“The joint health and safety representatives agreed that the electronic waste bin was a safety risk and recommended Fusion look at ways to manage the risk,” wrote Andrea Brown, manager of Fusion, in a report to council.


Staff met with a representative of Greentech – the company that manages the electronic waste collection – who recommended that Fusion move to filling Gaylord boxes with electronic waste. That would eliminate the stacking hazard and the potential for objects to fall on employees.


Brown wrote that Fusion moved to the new system in February, but there “were unintended consequences.”


“The Gaylord boxes hold less electronic waste, which means that more pick ups are required by Greentech. There is typically a wait period bewteen scheduled pick ups where electronic waste is stacked up outside of the bin and in the cages, which reintroduces the hazard of having items fall on staff.”


Brown wrote that with waste accumulating outside, there have been a number of thefts and “people on the property that have harassed Fusion staff.”


“The police have been involved several times and staff are having to spend time providing camera footage in order to deal with the thefts. Several of the thieves have been issued trespass notices and a few have been charged with theft, but the issue does not seem to be improving over time.”


While Gaylord containers are safer to fill, Brown noted that they often leave the town non-compliant with Ontario Electronic Stewardship standards and its agreement with Greentech.


“OES requires generator sites to place all donations in a locked container nightly,” wrote Brown. “For a variety of reasons such as staffing, safety and full Gaylord bins, we are often unable to meet this expectation.”


She wrote that if Greentech did a site inspection, the town would be deemed non-compliant and face suspension from the program.


Brown also wrote that there has been a change in OES standards where people dropping off electronic waste are required to provide their name, phone number, address and a list of items donated.


“This is not practical because drop offs happen outside and often outside of Fusion hours so staff are unable to collect the information required. If staff had to sign in each item, this would take a significant amount of staff time, which would take away time that staff are able to supervise and support youth at the centre.”


At one time, Fusion's electronic waste recycling program generated $40,000 in revenue annually, but Brown noted that has dropped significantly and now stands at about $11,000.


“Time and resources spent on e-waste, including administration tasks, sorting of e-waste and filling Gaylord boxes and addressing theft have increased exponentially.”


She said the cost of staff time spent on the e-waste program adds up to $12,500 per year “to generate approximately $11,000 in revenue.”


Going forward, Fusion could organize special community e-waste collection events instead of having a permanent collection bin, which Brown wrote would reduce the health and safety risks and the need to comply with source documentation, which is not required for special collection events.


They would also mitigate some of the revenue loss.


“Prior to collecting electronic waste through Greentech, Fusion took community donations of items needed for the RebuildIT program,” Brown wrote. “The program was successful and Fusion staff feel that going back to that system, as well as approaching corporations to ask for donations of old equipment, would ensure that the RebuildIT program is not at risk.”


After some discussion, council approved phasing out Fusion's electronic waste recycling program.