Call2Recycle responded to my blog entry “WDO lobbied to reject Call2Recycle plan” (http://blog.solidwastemag.com/wdo-lobbied-to-reject-call2recycle-plan/) by forwarding a copy of a Letter to the Editor that the organization’s Executive Director Joe Zenobio sent to the Toronto Star. I reproduce the letter below in full.
The letter offers some welcome assurances that Call2Recycle understands the importance of competition in the marketplace and that its plan could include having different service providers process used batteries collected under the program. That is good, although I would like to see the government and/or the Waste Diversion Organization (WDO) stipulate that the program must not punish the existing fairly robust private sector processing system, but simply add to and expand it. How those rules would be implemented I don’t know, but too often stewardship organizations for other materials such as used oil or waste electronics have disrupted the marketplace and harmed existing companies or put them out of business. Caution is needed here.
I’m also not reassured by the company’s comments about slag being acceptable as a recycled product; the fact that the Ministry of Transportation views slag as an acceptable road aggregate additive only aggravates the concern that Call2Recycle’s plan could result in “downcycling” of material. I hope and expect the WDO to stipulate that batteries must be recycled to the highest end-use, even if this costs more, and not sent to smelters to save money.
Anyway, my goal here is not to knock Call2Recycle’s program or overly interfere with its right to be heard, so in the interest of fairness, here’s its letter to the Toronto Star. Readers can read it and form their own opinions.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
January 20, 2014
Mr. Andrew Phillips Editorial Page Editor Toronto Star
1 Yonge Street Toronto, Ontario M5E 1E6
RE: “DON’T KILL A LOCAL SUCCESS”
On January 20, 2014, a recent editorial titled, “Don’t kill a local success”, appeared on page A12.
While we appreciate the attention on battery recycling, I am writing to clarify the editorial as it relates to Call2Recycle® Canada and the work we are doing on behalf of over 200 companies supporting the organization. Your readers can find more information about Call2Recycle Canada at www.call2recycle.ca.
Founded in 1994, Call2Recycle, a not for profit, is the most experienced and successful battery stewardship program in Canada. Serving over 1,000 collection sites in Ontario alone, the program is uniquely positioned to increase battery collections. With over 39 million kilograms of batteries collected in Canada since program inception, battery recycling is not only Call2Recycle’s business, but it’s our mission. Call2Recycle serves as the government-approved battery collection and recycling solution in British Columbia, Manitoba, and Quebec, and was recently selected as the preferred battery recycling provider for Canada’s federal government agencies and departments. Our Industry Stewardship Plan (ISP) was submitted to Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) to further battery recycling awareness and increase the current levels of batteries collected in the province, while meeting both the collection and recycling efficiency rates established by the Ministry of the Environment.
Call2Recycle Canada’s ISP is not intended to “destroy homegrown entrepreneurialism and the jobs it creates”, but strongly supports the Ontario economy and jobs. We operate out of our head office located in Toronto and are responsible for at least 15 direct and many more indirect jobs in Ontario. We currently utilize and will continue to utilize multiple Canadian vendors, partners, and service providers, indirectly supporting many additional jobs and organizations both in the province and nationally. Upon approval of our ISP, Call2Recycle Canada and other prospective contracted vendors will increase employee headcount, all of which have positive impacts on the Ontario economy. While the parent of Call2Recycle Canada, Inc. is US-based, we are a Canadian company, with Canadian staff and a long history of serving Ontario.
As part of the ISP process, Call2Recycle has not pre-selected any companies. While Call2Recycle does currently use specific service providers for our existing Ontario program, we have communicated publicly on many occasions that we are committed to an open, fair, and transparent process to select the best service providers based on several criteria including meeting the Ministry’s approved recycling efficiency targets. To mitigate concerns of transparency, Call2Recycle Canada will form an advisory group and secure a “Fairness Commissioner”. The Fairness Commissioner, normally a retired senior Ontario or Federal judge, will oversee the service provider award process. We encourage all interested battery sorters and processors to submit a proposal when it becomes available. The existence of the Call2Recycle program in Ontario does not discourage others from operating competing programs. Call2Recycle believes that the service provider network could involve not only one sorter or processor, but may include several different companies, which would be positive for the economy as a whole and create a competitive marketplace to drive down waste and costs.
The statement that “Ontario’s lofty environmental standards for battery recycling may be compromised because of concerns that the smelter, located in Pennsylvania, turns a portion of the batteries into slag, often used as a filler for roads, which environmentalists consider waste because it cannot be reused.” could suggest that Call2Recycle does not operate an environmentally-sound program. Your readers may find it interesting that slag has been endorsed by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation as an eco-friendly input into road construction. Our non-profit organization was founded on environmental commitment. Ensuring the proper end-of-life management for batteries is our mission and it’s what 200+ battery and battery-powered product companies trust us to do. Call2Recycle is committed to meeting the recycling efficiency rates approved by the Minister.
Call2Recycle is a non-profit, product stewardship organization whose mission, on behalf of its industry stewards, is to ensure batteries are properly recycled at the end of their useful life. We are committed to environmental excellence by operating the highest quality battery recycling program across Canada. If WDO approves our ISP, it will result in increased diversion of batteries from landfills, greater consumer convenience, lower consumer costs and positive outcomes for the people living in Ontario.
Executive Director Call2Recycle Canada, Inc.
Call2Recycle Canada, Inc. 4576 Yonge Street, Suite 606 Toronto, ON