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The death of a thousand cuts


If you want to form your own Industry Funding Organization in Ontario to administer a new regulated product stewardship program, you might want to hold off until the organization that administers such programs gets its act together. (And until the province literally gets its waste diversion “Act” together!)
In a letter dated June 21, 2010, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) wrote to Glenda Gies, Executive Director of Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) that the organization is withdrawing its application seeking approval of the Recycle My Cell (RMC) Industry Stewardship Program (ISP) for the recycling of cell phones in Ontario.
RMC has received approval in Nova Scotia and British Columbia (both leading EPR jurisdictions), and formal recognition in PEI, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Labrador and Saskatchewan. The program has been operating in Ontario on a voluntary basis since January 2009. In that year RMC says it recovered 345,694 devices nationally with about a third being recovered in Ontario specifically. The programs have raised more than $500,000 for charities while providing an accessible and free service to consumers.
CWTA will continue to operate RMC voluntarily but has dropped its plan to operate the program as an ISP under the WDO rules due to what it alleges is foot-dragging and red tape from the organization and/or application process.
The CWTA writes, “However, given the protracted and on-going nature of the review process, CWTA does not believe that any substantive progress has been made furthering its application to serve as a regulated program. It is this lack of progress, coupled with a requirement to remit monthly payments to WDO for the continuing review of its ISP, that has caused CWTA to lose confidence in the process as it currently stands and to make the decision to withdraw its application.”
The letter ends with a reminder that WDO has been provided a retainer by CWTA of just over $12,000 and asks WDO to reconcile costs incurred with invoices that have been issued and paid, and return any remaining retainer to the association.
Sadly, this discouraging development that has frustrated private initiative coincides with the Ontario Liberals decision to shelve (perhaps only until the fall, we must hope) important legislation to overhaul and reform the Waste Diversion Act.


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