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Tundra Take-Back

Tundra Take-Back

Northern End-of-Life Vehicle Recycling Program

Tundra Take-Back is designed to de-pollute and recycle end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) found in Canada’s North. Unmanaged ELVs contain harmful pollutants and occupy significant space within community dumpsites. They are rarely recycled due to the complicated and costly process of shipping, but what goes up must come down!

During the 2014 pilot year, Scout (formerly Summerhill Impact) worked alongside vehicle recycling professionals, government, industry partners and members of two Nunavut communities to decommission 80 ELVs. This environmental health initiative will protect water quality and improve local capacity for pollution prevention.

Project Objectives

  • Engage stakeholders about the importance of ongoing pollution-prevention
  • Develop a practical northern vehicle recycling guide
  • Train and hire northern community members to assist with the recovery and recycling of ELVs
  • Restore land adjacent to dumpsites to a state of nature

Program Results

This project removed thousands of kilograms of waste, including:

  • 20 tonnes of scrap metal, comprised of 10 ELVs and other scrap metal;
  • over 500 lead-acid batteries;
  • over 1,300 tires;
  • 24 208-litre drums of oil, spent gasoline and antifreeze; approximately 20 mercury switches and a small bucket of lead wheel weights;
  • 14 gallons of windshield washer fluids (most of which stayed on site and were re-used by the Hamlet of Gjoa Haven in their garage)
  • Approximately 2 lbs of refrigerants.


We have released Version 1 of our Northern ELV recycling guidebook!

This guide was designed to be a practical and easy-to-follow resource for organizations and local governments who are thinking about recycling vehicles in Northern and remote areas.

ELV Recycling GuideQuick Reference ELV Recycling Guide

Protecting the Land – A Practical Guide to ELV Recycling in the North

Final report providing an overview of the Tundra Take-Back pilot, results, key findings and recommendations.

Tundra Take-Back: Successful Recycling and Hazardous Waste Management in Northern and Remote Canada
Tundra Take-Back: Successful Recycling and Hazardous Waste Management in Northern and Remote Canada  (March 30, 2015 – 1.5MB PDF)

Our Partners

This pilot project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the federal Department of the Environment, and the coordinated and considerable commitment of other key partners, including:

  • Automotive Recyclers of Canada
  • Automotive Recyclers Association
  • Arctic Co-operatives Limited
  • Calm Air
  • Canadian North
  • CPS Products
  • Eskimo Point Lumber
  • Gerdau
  • Government of Nunavut
  • Hamlet of Arviat
  • Hamlet of Gjoa Haven
  • Inns North
  • Nunavut Sealink and Supply
  • OmniTRAX
  • Padlei Co-op
  • Qikiqtaq Co-op


“Arctic Co-operatives Limited is proud to partner with Summerhill Impact (Scout) on this important project, which will result in positive environmental benefits for the people within the Co-op communities we serve.  Indeed, we regard our participation in this project as an opportunity to actively reflect Co-op principles and values of social consciousness and Concern for Community.”

Duane Wilson, VP, Merchandising & Logistics Division of Arctic Co-operatives Limited

“The Tundra Take-Back project is an exciting project to be involved with, as it mutually beneficial for those living in that area and for Gerdau. It encourages environmentally sustainable recycling practices in Canada’s northern regions, and provides scrap metal for our company to recycle and transform into new products. Though Gerdau usually sources recycled scrap metal within a 200-mile radius of our steel mills, this project was a great opportunity to contribute to clean up in the North. We are pleased to be able to contribute to this important initiative, and demonstrate our commitment to sustainability.“

Bob Downie, Regional Environmental Manager, Gerdau Steel

“We’re excited to be part of the Tundra Take-Back, This is an innovative and important pilot project and we would like to congratulate and thank everyone involved. As a travel partner, we’re simply enabling them to carry out their important work for the benefit of our Northern communities.“

Peter McCart, VP, Sales and Marketing, Canadian North



Dumpsite in Canada's far northDumpsite in Canada's far north