VICTORIA – NOVEMBER 10, 2009 – British Columbians will now have access to a web-based program that provides quick information to those looking for a place to recycle their old cellphones, Environment Minister Barry Penner announced today.

“Within seconds of entering my postal code at, I was directed to seven drop-off locations within four kilometres of my office where I could take my old cellphone for recycling,” said Penner. “This program diverts e-waste from our landfills and is consistent with the goals of our recycling regulation, which makes producers responsible for the lifecycle management of products they sell in B.C.”

Recycle My Cell is a free program organized by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) in conjunction with cellphone service providers, handset manufacturers and recycling companies. The goal of the program is to raise awareness about the importance of cellphone recycling and keep handsets from entering Canada’s landfills.

A donation to participating charities is made for each device returned through the program. Some of the charities benefiting from the program include the World Wildlife Fund, Tree Canada and Food Banks Canada.

To locate a drop-off centre, visit the website or call 1-888-797-1740, and enter your postal code. This generates a list of the 10 closest cellphone recycling drop-off sites. If you can’t visit one of these drop-off locations in person, you can mail your mobile device at no cost using a prepaid shipping label. There are currently 552 drop-off locations in B.C. The website also provides instructions for cleaning your device of all personal data before dropping it off at a recycling site.

The Recycle My Cell program is designed to meet the requirements of B.C.’s Recycling Regulation. Under this legislation, producers are responsible for the end-of-life management of their products, including collecting and recycling. A recycling program for TVs and computers was launched in B.C. in 2007. The recycling regulation has been expanded to include several more electronic products, including mobile phones.

“Canada’s wireless industry greatly appreciates the Government of B.C.’s recognition of our contribution and commitment to its environmental protection management,” said CWTA president and CEO Bernard Lord. “I encourage all British Columbians to visit the new website to see just how easy it can be to help protect and enrich the communities in which they live.”

“CWTA’s program is a welcome addition to B.C.’s extended producer responsibility system,” said Brock Macdonald, executive director of the Recycling Council of British Columbia. “This program will keep thousands of cellphones out of our landfills and help us to recover valuable resources at the same time. We’d like to see this program emulated in all industries.”

Cellphones, pagers, smartphones, wireless PDAs, external aircards, headsets, chargers, batteries and other accessories are all accepted at Recycle My Cell collection sites or through the mail-back option, regardless of brand, model or age, working or non-working. The devices are then sent to recycling facilities where they are refurbished or dismantled for scrap. The scrap materials are used to produce new mobile devices and a variety of other items. More than 95 per cent of the materials in an average mobile device are recyclable.

All companies involved with the Recycle My Cell program are ISO 14001:2004 certified, or certified under Electronic Product Stewardship Canada’s Recycling Vendor Qualification Program. This means they have an environmental management system in place which ensures accountability and knowledge of the associated impacts.

And remember, by Jan. 1, 2010, you won’t be allowed to use your cellphone in B.C. while driving.

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Matt Gordon
Communications Director
Ministry of Environment

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