CASE STUDY 6: Conestoga College E-Waste & Cyber Security Program
Conestoga College has launched a new program focused on sustainable electronics management & data security innovation. The Advanced Recycling Technologies for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) program is located at Conestoga’s new campus in downtown Cambridge.
Canada's e-waste industry is new but growing. Consumers and manufactures are beginning to commit to collecting and recycling e-waste via local recycling programs. You might have dropped dead batteries off at Home Depot or Staples or left an old computer in the bins located outside Canadian Tire.
There is greater demand from consumers to have electronics that are designed to be reused, recycled or refurbished so that the toxic materials in e-waste can be diverted from landfills. However, a major problem with current e-waste recycling programs is the shipping of mass amounts of e-waste to third-world countries for processing where it creates serious environmental and human health issues.
Conestoga’s program was designed to produce graduates with skills related to the full lifecycle of electronics, from the design stage to decommissioning.
Dr. Hamid Karbasi leads Conestoga’s WEEE research program focusing on automated sorted of electronic components and e-waste materials, and artificial intelligence aided dismantling of electronics (such as LCD screens).
Doran worked with Conestoga’s Applied Research Office to secure funding from the CSSCTP Program offered through Ontario Centres of Excellence; and matching funds from industry partners. The funds support industry-academic collaborative research projects with companies looking to develop new e-waste recycling technologies.
Ultimately, Conestoga’s WEEE program will train Canada’s top grads in e-waste management and their industrial partners will create new jobs in this emerging industry.