CBC/Radio-Canada proudly operates five stations in Northern Canada. They are found at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory; Yellowknife and Inuvik, Northwest Territories; and Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet, Nunavut Territory. In those centres, we create local and regional news and cultural programming in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages. Our commitment to our Northern audiences is the same as our commitment everywhere else in the country — but our colleagues above the 60th parallel face unique and significant challenges every day.
Among those challenges is how to deal with e-waste responsibly. Canada’s Northern territories do not have recycling stewardship programs in place, as of yet. This leaves CBC/Radio-Canada with the challenge of meeting the commitments that the Corporation has set for itself in its Environmental Policy (2003), and with fulfilling its goal of being a good corporate citizen in every part of Canada.
To meet our environmental commitments and avoid contributing e-waste to landfill in the North, our broadcast station in Whitehorse implemented a pilot program in late 2012 to make recycling e-waste from our Northern stations both feasible and environmentally responsible. In our Environmental Policy, e-waste is defined as technical and non-technical electronic equipment, cable, wiring, and structures used to house this equipment. In general, the Corporation recycles all kinds of electronics deemed obsolete or no longer fit for our use. The challenge was to economically move this e-waste from the North to certified e-waste recyclers south of the 60th parallel. The best solution found was for employees to collect and package it for delivery to an approved and certified recycler in Edmonton via trucks already in the North for the purpose of bringing our regular equipment and supplies to our Northern stations. This meant that trucks would not need to return empty to the South; no supplemental trucks were required for this recycling programme; and transporting the e-waste intended for recycling would not increase the Corporation’s carbon footprint.
With the success of the Whitehorse pilot program, CBC/Radio-Canada has launched similar programs at our stations in Yellowknife and Iqaluit. The tally, so far — nearly four (3.98) metric tonnes of e-waste diverted from Whitehorse in 2012-2013, and over eight (8.34) metric tonnes diverted from Yellowknife in 2013, and subsequently recycled.
Finding a solution to the challenge of responsibly dealing with our e-waste required the creativity, leadership and dedication of CBC/Radio-Canada employees. In addition to providing broadcasting services to Canadians in the North, they have helped the Corporation in its efforts to be a responsible member of Northern Canadian society.
With no territorial recycling programs in Canada’s North, CBC/Radio-Canada has found an environmentally responsible and feasible way to recycle its e-waste.
At time of publication, CBC Whitehorse had diverted nearly four metric tonnes of e-waste from Northern landfill, while CBC Yellowknife had diverted over eight metric tonnes of e-waste.
We have initiated a similar program at CBC Iqaluit.