Dispose of Toxic Chemicals, Electronics and Light Bulbs Properly – Protect Nature Challenge

Toxic chemicals and old electronics should not go into the regular garbage stream.

Dispose of persistent toxic chemicals properly: Toxic substances can kill wildlife directly through exposure or by contaminating their habitat. Check with your local waste-management facilities to learn about proper disposal methods for toxic household wastes such as paint, paint thinner and car fluids. There are often specially scheduled days for toxic-substance collection or drop-off.

Recycle old electronics: Canadians bury or incinerate over 150,000 tonnes of dead and obsolete computers, monitors, printers, fax machines, TVs, mobile phones and similar products every year. These objects contain significant quantities of pollutants such as lead, mercury, cadmium and polybrominated flame retardants, some of which eventually leach into our water systems. They also contain recyclable materials such as copper, steel, aluminum and plastic. Donate electronics that you no longer need to Computers for Schools Plus or contact your local waste-management facilities for an electronics recycler in your area.

Safely dispose of lamps containing mercury: Every year, mercury is released into the environment from millions of light bulbs that are incorrectly sent to landfills. Mercury lamps include compact fluorescent lamps and fluorescent tubes. Check your lightbulbs for the “Hg” symbol that means it contains mercury. There are different options available to dispose of lamps containing mercury depending on where you live. Some provinces offer programs where you can drop off your lamps at collection sites or arrange free pickups. There are also companies that offer lamp-disposal services for a fee and retailer take-back programs to keep mercury out of the environment. Learn more about how to safely dispose of lamps containing mercury.

Find an inventory of recycling programs in Canada.

Find more information on protecting biodiversity.

Let’s do this together

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Need inspiration?

Check out our list of challenges to help protect nature.

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