Electronic waste, more commonly referred to as e-waste, is one of the fastest growing forms of trash in North America, and according to Environment Canada more than 140,000 tonnes of end-of-life electronics are sent to landfills in Canada each year. Calvary United Church in St. Jacobs has decided to tackle the growing problem of e-waste in their community, while at the same time fund a goodwill mission to Mexico to build a new home for one needy family.
The church has teamed up with Greentec, a Cambridge-based e-waste company, to collect old computers, pagers, cell phones, televisions and the like to be either reused or stripped down for their valuable metals and other components.
The church has been collecting the waste for the past two weeks, and today (Saturday) is the public’s last opportunity to drop off for free that old monitor or printer collecting dust in the basement.
“So many people are saying ‘I’ve been wanting to get rid of this forever’ and some people are used to taking it to the dump and having to pay to drop it off, so it’s really refreshing for them to know it goes towards building something,” said Chris McCracken, the director of youth and children’s ministries at Calvary United.
If they manage to fill the entire container, McCracken said they could collect about $1,000 for their trip. In total they will need to raise about $5,000 for the materials and another $1,200 for each of the 14 youth and five adult leaders heading on the trip during March break.
For the past six years the Calvary United has been sending teams to Ensenada, Mexico in partnership with Yugo Ministries to build homes. Each year the church alternates between sending a youth team and an adult team, and the most recent adult team just returned last Saturday.
McCracken said the mission is a tremendous way for the church to spread goodwill to those who really need it. Many families are forced to live in makeshift huts made of tarps, and when the rainy season comes it can lead to problems with mold, and the looks on their faces when they can finally have a real home off the ground and their own furniture is worth it.
“There are a lot of tears,” he said.
It takes about four days to build the homes, which are made of wooden frames with asphalt roofs, and it is a valuable learning experience for the youth.
“They get some international experience to circumstances that are much different than what we might see here, but one of the key things is the relationships that develop between the family and our kids,” said McCracken.
Today is the final day to drop off e-waste in their parking lot, 48 Hawkesville Rd. in St. Jacobs, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There are other fundraisers planned for the future, such as a poinsettia sale in December and a café night in February.
For more information call (519) 664-2311 or visit their website, www. calvaryunited.com.