What happens when you cross a Langley recycling company with a Burnaby elementary school? A toy-recycling program that teaches kids to curb consumerism and waste just in time for Christmas.
Langley's Genesis Recycling has partnered with Yvonne DeWith's Grade 3 class at John Knox Christian School to run the first toy recycling program of its kind in Canada.
"The goal is to target the children who are the consumer of the toys. In that way, the children will encourage their parents on recycling," said DeWith.
The pilot program involves setting up recycling bins at the school to collect old or broken electronic toys - anything battery operated or using a remote control. From Dec. 7 to 14, the school is collecting these items for return to Genesis.
DeWith said the initiative also gives families a chance to clean out their closets before the new Christmas toys arrive and to encourage students to think environmentally while composing their holiday wish-list.
"They've already been very aware of what to put on their Christmas list," DeWith said. For instance, one boy with an upcoming birthday is asking for money so he can buy one big gift instead of several small ones with short life spans.
Before the pilot project was introduced, DeWith's students had the chance to tour the recycling plant to learn how recycling works.
"I always find it's boring to read it in a text book, but to actually live it, it makes more of an impact with the students," DeWith said.
The electronic toy recycling program is new in B.C., and John Knox is the first school to bring recycling collection of electronic toys into the classroom, said Pamela Nel, spokesperson for Genesis. Once the toys are sent to Genesis, they are completely dismantled, and all the components are separated and sent to another recycling facility.
"Electronic toys are so complex," Nel said. "Each of those different materials needs to be recycled separately."
According to B.C. regulations, Genesis is responsible for ensuring the downstream recyclers are handling the materials responsibly, Nel said.
"We can give you verification of where those things go, and we have to follow it until it is made into a new thing," she said.
Genesis Recycling was founded in 1994 and specializes in handling electronic waste and Styrofoam. John Knox Christian School is an independent interdenominational school in South Burnaby.